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Write an essay focusing on Helmer’s marriage and its necessary dissolution

A Doll’s House exposes the masquerade people often go through in their marriages and reveals how we live with illusions especially with our most intimate family members. Write an essay focusing on Helmer’s marriage and its necessary dissolution. 

 

Following is the play about which the above essay needs to be written it is also available in attachment.

A DOLL'S HOUSE

by Henrik Ibsen

1879

translated by William Archer

CHARACTERS

TORVALD HELMER.

NORA, his wife.

DOCTOR RANK.

MRS. LINDEN. *

NILS KROGSTAD.

THE HELMERS' THREE CHILDREN.

ANNA, *(2) their nurse.

A MAID-SERVANT (ELLEN).

A PORTER.

The action passes in Helmer's house (a flat) in Christiania.

* In the original "Fru Linde."

*(2) In the original "Anne-Marie."

ACT FIRST

A room, comfortably and tastefully, but not expensively, furnished.

In the back, on the right, a door leads to the hall; on the left another door leads to HELMER’s study. Between the two doors

a pianoforte. In the middle of the left wall a door, and nearer the front a window. Near the window a round table with armchairs and

a small sofa. In the right wall, somewhat to the back, a door, and against the same wall, further forward, a porcelain stove; in front

of it a couple of arm-chairs and a rocking-chair. Between the stove and the side-door a small table. Engravings on the walls. A what-

not with china and bric-a-brac. A small bookcase filled with handsomely bound books. Carpet. A fire in the stove. It is a winter day.

A bell rings in the hall outside. Presently the outer door of the flat is heard to open. Then NORA enters, humming gaily. She is

in outdoor dress, and carries several parcels, which she lays on the right-hand table. She leaves the door into the hall open, and a

PORTER is seen outside, carrying a Christmas-tree and a basket, which he gives to the MAID-SERVANT who has opened the door.

NORA. Hide the Christmas-tree carefully, Ellen; the children must

on no account see it before this evening, when it's lighted up.

[To the PORTER, taking out her purse.] How much?

PORTER. Fifty ore. *

* About sixpence. There are 100 ore in a krone or crown, which is

worth thirteenpence halfpenny.

NORA. There is a crown. No, keep the change.

[The PORTER thanks her and goes. NORA shuts the door. She

continues smiling in quiet glee as she takes off her

outdoor things. Taking from her pocket a bag of

macaroons, she eats one or two. Then she goes on tip-toe

to her husband's door and listens.

NORA. Yes; he is at home.

[She begins humming again, crossing to the table on the

right.

HELMER. [In his room.] Is that my lark twittering there?

NORA. [Busy opening some of her parcels.] Yes, it is.

HELMER. Is it the squirrel frisking around?

NORA. Yes!

HELMER When did the squirrel get home?

NORA. Just this minute. [Hides the bag of macaroons in her pocket

and wipes her mouth.] Come here, Torvald, and see what I've been

buying.

-2-

HELMER. Don't interrupt me. [A little later he opens the door and

looks in, pen in hand.] Buying, did you say? What! All that? Has

my little spendthrift been making the money fly again?

NORA. Why, Torvald, surely we can afford to launch out a little

now. It's the first Christmas we haven't had to pinch.

HELMER. Come come; we can't afford to squander money.

NORA. Oh yes, Torvald, do let us squander a little, now- just the

least little bit! You know you'll soon be earning heaps of money.

HELMER. Yes, from New Year's Day. But there's a whole quarter

before my first salary is due.

NORA. Never mind; we can borrow in the meantime.

HELMER. Nora! [He goes up to her and takes her playfully by the

ear.] Still my little featherbrain! Supposing I borrowed a

thousand crowns to-day, and you made ducks and drakes of them

during Christmas week, and then on New Year's Eve a tile blew off

the roof and knocked my brains out-

NORA. [Laying her hand on his mouth.] Hush! How can you talk so

horridly?

HELMER. But supposing it were to happen- what then?

NORA. If anything so dreadful happened, it would be all the same to

me whether I was in debt or not.

HELMER. But what about the creditors?

NORA. They! Who cares for them? They're only strangers.

HELMER. Nora, Nora! What a woman you are! But seriously, Nora, you

know my principles on these points. No debts! No borrowing! Home

life ceases to be free and beautiful as soon as it is founded on

borrowing and debt. We two have held out bravely till now, and we

are not going to give in at the last.

NORA. [Going to the fireplace.] Very well- as you please, Torvald.

HELMER. [Following her.] Come come; my little lark mustn't droop

her wings like that. What? Is my squirrel in the sulks? [Takes

out his purse.] Nora, what do you think I have here?

NORA. [Turning round quickly.] Money!

HELMER. There! [Gives her some notes.] Of course I know all sorts

of things are wanted at Christmas.

NORA. [Counting.] Ten, twenty, thirty, forty. Oh, thank you, thank

you, Torvald! This will go a long way.

HELMER. I should hope so.

NORA. Yes, indeed; a long way! But come here, and let me show

you all I've been buying. And so cheap! Look, here's a new suit

for Ivar, and a little sword. Here are a horse and a trumpet for

Bob. And here are a doll and a cradle for Emmy. They're only

common; but they're good enough for her to pull to pieces. And

dress-stuffs and kerchiefs for the servants. I ought to have got

something better for old Anna.

HELMER. And what's in that other parcel?

NORA. [Crying out.] No, Torvald, you're not to see that until this

evening.

HELMER. Oh! Ah! But now tell me, you little spendthrift, have you

thought of anything for yourself?

NORA. For myself! Oh, I don't want anything.

HELMER. Nonsense! Just tell me something sensible you would like to

have.

NORA. No, really I don't know of anything- Well, listen, Torvald-

HELMER. Well?

NORA. [Playing with his coat-buttons, without looking him in the

face.] If you really want to give me something, you might, you

know- you might-

HELMER. Well? Out with it!

NORA. [Quickly.] You might give me money, Torvald. Only just what

you think you can spare; then I can buy something with it later

-3-

on.

HELMER. But, Nora-

NORA. Oh, please do, dear Torvald, please do! I should hang the

money in lovely gilt paper on the Christmas-tree. Wouldn't that

be fun?

HELMER. What do they call the birds that are always making the

money fly?

NORA. Yes, I know- spendthrifts, * of course. But please do as I

ask you, Torvald. Then I shall have time to think what I want

most. Isn't that very sensible, now?

* "Spillefugl," literally "playbird," means a gambler.

HELMER. [Smiling.] Certainly; that is to say, if you really kept

the money I gave you, and really spent it on something for

yourself. But it all goes in housekeeping, and for all manner of

useless things, and then I have to pay up again.

NORA. But, Torvald-

HELMER. Can you deny it, Nora dear? [He puts his arm round her.]

It's a sweet little lark, but it gets through a lot of money. No

one would believe how much it costs a man to keep such a little

bird as you.

NORA. For shame! How can you say so? Why, I save as much as ever I

can.

HELMER. [Laughing.] Very true- as much as you can- but that's

precisely nothing.

NORA. [Hums and smiles with covert glee.] H'm! If you only knew,

Torvald, what expenses we larks and squirrels have.

HELMER. You're a strange little being! Just like your father-

always on the look-out for all the money you can lay your hands

on; but the moment you have it, it seems to slip through your

fingers; you never know what becomes of it. Well, one must take

you as you are. It's in the blood. Yes, Nora, that sort of thing

is hereditary.

NORA. I wish I had inherited many of papa's qualities.

HELMER. And I don't wish you anything but just what you are- my

own, sweet little song-bird. But I say- it strikes me you look

so- so- what shall I call it?- so suspicious to-day-

NORA. Do I?

HELMER. You do, indeed. Look me full in the face.

NORA. [Looking at him.] Well?

HELMER. [Threatening with his finger.] Hasn't the little

sweet-tooth been playing pranks to-day?

NORA. No; how can you think such a thing!

HELMER. Didn't she just look in at the confectioner's?

NORA. No, Torvald; really-

HELMER. Not to sip a little jelly?

NORA. No; certainly not.

HELMER. Hasn't she even nibbled a macaroon or two?

NORA. No, Torvald, indeed, indeed!

HELMER. Well, well, well; of course I'm only joking.

NORA. [Goes to the table on the right.] I shouldn't think of

doing what you disapprove of.

HELMER. No, I'm sure of that; and, besides, you've given me your

word- [Going towards her.] Well, keep your little Christmas

secrets to yourself, Nora darling. The Christmas-tree will bring

them all to light, I daresay.

NORA. Have you remembered to invite Doctor Rank?

HELMER. No. But it's not necessary; he'll come as a matter of

course. Besides, I shall ask him when he looks in to-day. I've

ordered some capital wine. Nora, you can't think how I look

-4-

forward to this evening.

NORA. And I too. How the children will enjoy themselves, Torvald!

HELMER. Ah, it's glorious to feel that one has an assured position

and ample means. Isn't it delightful to think of?

NORA. Oh, it's wonderful!

HELMER. Do you remember last Christmas? For three whole weeks

beforehand you shut yourself up every evening till long past

midnight to make flowers for the Christmas-tree, and all sorts

of other marvels that were to have astonished us. I was never

so bored in my life.

NORA. I didn't bore myself at all.

HELMER. [Smiling.] But it came to little enough in the end, Nora.

NORA. Oh, are you going to tease me about that again? How could I

help the cat getting in and pulling it all to pieces?

HELMER. To be sure you couldn't, my poor little Nora. You did your

best to give us all pleasure, and that's the main point. But, all

the same, it's a good thing the hard times are over.

NORA. Oh, isn't it wonderful?

HELMER. Now I needn't sit here boring myself all alone; and you

needn't tire your blessed eyes and your delicate little fingers-

NORA. [Clapping her hands.] No, I needn't, need I, Torvald? Oh, how

wonderful it is to think of? [Takes his arm.] And now I'll tell

you how I think we ought to manage, Torvald. As soon as Christmas

is over- [The hall-door bell rings.] Oh, there's a ring!

[Arranging the room.] That's somebody come to call. How tiresome!

HELMER. I'm "not at home" to callers; remember that.

ELLEN. [In the doorway.] A lady to see you, ma'am.

NORA. Show her in.

ELLEN. [To HELMER.] And the doctor has just come, sir.

HELMER. Has he gone into my study?

ELLEN. Yes, sir.

[HELMER goes into his study. ELLEN ushers in MRS. LINDEN,

in travelling costume, and goes out, closing the door.

MRS. LINDEN. [Embarrassed and hesitating.] How do you do, Nora?

NORA. [Doubtfully.] How do you do?

MRS. LINDEN. I see you don't recognise me!

NORA. No, I don't think- oh yes!- I believe- [Suddenly

brightening.] What, Christina! Is it really you?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes; really I!

NORA. Christina! And to think I didn't know you! But how could I-

[More softly.] How changed you are; Christina!

MRS. LINDEN. Yes, no doubt. In nine or ten years-

NORA. Is it really so long since we met? Yes, so it is. Oh, the

last eight years have been a happy time, I can tell you. And now

you have come to town? All that long journey in mid-winter! How

brave of you!

MRS. LINDEN. I arrived by this morning's steamer.

NORA. To have a merry Christmas, of course. Oh, how delightful!

Yes, we will have a merry Christmas. Do take your things off.

Aren't you frozen? [Helping her.] There; now we'll sit cosily by

the fire. No, you take the arm-chair; I shall sit in this

rocking-chair. [Seizes her hands.] Yes, now I can see the dear

old face again. It was only at the first glance- But you're a

little paler, Christina- and perhaps a little thinner.

MRS. LINDEN. And much, much older, Nora.

NORA. Yes, perhaps a little older- not much- ever so little.

[She suddenly checks herself; seriously.] Oh, what a thoughtless

wretch I am! Here I sit chattering on, and- Dear, dear Christina,

can you forgive me!

MRS. LINDEN. What do you mean, Nora?

NORA. [Softly.] Poor Christina! I forgot: you are a widow.

-5-

MRS. LINDEN. Yes; my husband died three years ago.

NORA. I know, I know; I saw it in the papers. Oh, believe me,

Christina, I did mean to write to you; but I kept putting it off,

and something always came in the way.

MRS. LINDEN. I can quite understand that, Nora dear.

NORA. No, Christina; it was horrid of me. Oh, you poor darling! how

much you must have gone through!- And he left you nothing?

MRS. LINDEN. Nothing.

NORA. And no children?

MRS. LINDEN. None.

NORA. Nothing, nothing at all?

MRS. LINDEN. Not even a sorrow or a longing to dwell upon.

NORA. [Looking at her incredulously.] My dear Christina, how is

that possible?

MRS. LINDEN. [Smiling sadly and stroking her hair.] Oh, it happens

so sometimes, Nora.

NORA. So utterly alone! How dreadful that must be! I have three of

the loveliest children. I can't show them to you just now;

they're out with their nurse. But now you must tell me

everything.

MRS. LINDEN. No, no; I want you to tell me-

NORA. No, you must begin; I won't be egotistical to-day. To-day

I'll think only of you. Oh! but I must tell you one thing-

perhaps you've heard of our great stroke of fortune?

MRS. LINDEN. No. What is it?

NORA. Only think! my husband has been made manager of the Joint

Stock Bank.

MRS. LINDEN. Your husband! Oh, how fortunate!

NORA. Yes; isn't it? A lawyer's position is so uncertain, you see,

especially when he won't touch any business that's the least bit

shady, as of course Torvald never would; and there I quite agree

with him. Oh! you can imagine how glad we are. He is to enter on

his new position at the New Year, and then he'll have a large

salary, and percentages. In future we shall be able to live quite

differently- just as we please, in fact. Oh, Christina, I feel so

lighthearted and happy! It's delightful to have lots of money,

and no need to worry about things, isn't it?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes; at any rate it must be delightful to have what

you need.

NORA. No, not only what you need, but heaps of money- heaps!

MRS. LINDEN. [Smiling.] Nora, Nora, haven't you learnt reason yet?

In our school days you were a shocking little spendthrift.

NORA. [Quietly smiling.] Yes; that's what Torvald says I am still.

[Holding up her forefinger.] But "Nora, Nora" is not so silly as

you all think. Oh! I haven't had the chance to be much of a

spendthrift. We have both had to work.

MRS. LINDEN. You too?

NORA. Yes, light fancy work: crochet, and embroidery, and things of

that sort; [Carelessly] and other work too. You know, of course,

that Torvald left the Government service when we were married. He

had little chance of promotion, and of course he required to make

more money. But in the first year after our marriage he

overworked himself terribly. He had to undertake all sorts of

extra work, you know, and to slave early and late. He couldn't

stand it, and fell dangerously ill. Then the doctors declared he

must go to the South.

MRS. LINDEN. You spent a whole year in Italy, didn't you?

NORA. Yes, we did. It wasn't easy to manage, I can tell you. It was

just after Ivar's birth. But of course we had to go. Oh, it was a

wonderful, delicious journey! And it saved Torvald's life. But it

cost a frightful lot of money, Christina.

-6-

MRS. LINDEN. So I should think.

NORA. Twelve hundred dollars! Four thousand eight hundred crowns! *

Isn't that a lot of money?

* The dollar (4s. 6d.) was the old unit of currency in Norway.

The crown was substituted for it shortly before the date of this play.

MRS. LINDEN. How lucky you had the money to spend!

NORA. We got it from father, you must know.

MRS. LINDEN. Ah, I see. He died just about that time, didn't he?

NORA. Yes, Christina, just then. And only think! I couldn't go and

nurse him! I was expecting little Ivar's birth daily; and then I

had my poor sick Torvald to attend to. Dear, kind old father! I

never saw him again, Christina. Oh! that's the hardest thing I

have had to bear since my marriage.

MRS. LINDEN. I know how fond you were of him. But then you went to

Italy?

NORA. Yes; you see, we had the money, and the doctors said we must

lose no time. We started a month later.

MRS. LINDEN. And your husband came back completely cured.

NORA. Sound as a bell.

MRS. LINDEN. But- the doctor?

NORA. What do you mean?

MRS. LINDEN. I thought as I came in your servant announced the

doctor-

NORA. Oh, yes; Doctor Rank. But he doesn't come professionally. He

is our best friend, and never lets a day pass without looking in.

No, Torvald hasn't had an hour's illness since that time. And the

children are so healthy and well, and so am I. [Jumps up and

claps her hands.] Oh, Christina, Christina, what a wonderful

thing it is to live and to be happy!- Oh, but it's really too

horrid of me! Here am I talking about nothing but my own

concerns. [Seats herself upon a footstool close to CHRISTINA, and

lays her arms on her friend's lap.] Oh. don't be angry with me!

Now tell me, is it really true that you didn't love your husband?

What made you marry him, then?

MRS. LINDEN. My mother was still alive, you see, bedridden and

helpless; and then I had my two younger brothers to think of.

I didn't think it would be right for me to refuse him.

NORA. Perhaps it wouldn't have been. I suppose he was rich then?

MRS. LINDEN. Very well off, I believe. But his business was

uncertain. It fell to pieces at his death, and there was

nothing left.

NORA. And then-?

MRS. LINDEN. Then I had to fight my way by keeping a shop, a little

school, anything I could turn my hand to. The last three years

have been one long struggle for me. But now it is over, Nora. My

poor mother no longer needs me; she is at rest. And the boys are

in business, and can look after themselves.

NORA. How free your life must feel!

MRS. LINDEN. No, Nora; only inexpressibly empty. No one to live

for! [Stands up restlessly.] That's why I could not bear to stay

any longer in that out-of-the-way corner. Here it must be easier

to find something to take one up- to occupy one's thoughts. If I

could only get some settled employment- some office work.

NORA. But, Christina, that's such drudgery, and you look worn out

already. It would be ever so much better for you to go to some

watering-place and rest.

MRS. LINDEN [Going to the window.] I have no father to give me the

money, Nora.

NORA. [Rising.] Oh, don't be vexed with me.

-7-

MRS. LINDEN. [Going to her.] My dear Nora, don't you be vexed with

me. The worst of a position like mine is that it makes one so

bitter. You have no one to work for, yet you have to be always on

the strain. You must live; and so you become selfish. When I

heard of the happy change in your fortunes- can you believe it?-

I was glad for my own sake more than for yours.

NORA. How do you mean? Ah, I see! You think Torvald can perhaps do

something for you.

MRS. LINDEN. Yes; I thought so.

NORA. And so he shall, Christina. Just you leave it all to me. I

shall lead up to it beautifully!- I shall think of some

delightful plan to put him in a good humour! Oh, I should so love

to help you.

MRS. LINDEN. How good of you, Nora, to stand by me so warmly!

Doubly good in you, who knows so little of the troubles and

burdens of life.

NORA. I? I know so little of-?

MRS. LINDEN. [Smiling.] Oh, well- a little fancy-work, and so

forth.- You're a child, Nora.

NORA. [Tosses her head and paces the room.] Oh, come, you mustn't

be so patronising!

MRS. LINDEN. No?

NORA. You're like the rest. You all think I'm fit for nothing

really serious-

MRS. LINDEN. Well, well-

NORA. You think I've had no troubles in this weary world.

MRS. LINDEN. My dear Nora, you've just told me all your troubles.

NORA. Pooh- those trifles! [Softly.] I haven't told you the great

thing.

MRS. LINDEN. The great thing? What do you mean?

NORA. I know you look down upon me, Christina; but you have no

right to. You are proud of having worked so hard and so long for

your mother.

MRS. LINDEN. I am sure I don't look down upon any one; but it's

true I am both proud and glad when I remember that I was able to

keep my mother's last days free from care.

NORA. And you're proud to think of what you have done for your

brothers, too.

MRS. LINDEN. Have I not the right to be?

NORA. Yes indeed. But now let me tell you, Christina- I, too, have

something to be proud and glad of.

MRS. LINDEN. I don't doubt it. But what do you mean?

NORA. Hush! Not so loud. Only think, if Torvald were to hear! He

mustn't- not for worlds! No one must know about it, Christina- no

one but you.

MRS LINDEN. Why, what can it be?

NORA. Come over here. [Draws her down beside her on the sofa.] Yes,

Christina- I, too, have something to be proud and glad of. I

saved Torvald's life.

MRS. LINDEN. Saved his life? How?

NORA. I told you about our going to Italy. Torvald would have died

but for that.

MRS. LINDEN. Well- and your father gave you the money.

NORA. [Smiling.] Yes, so Torvald and every one believes; but-

MRS. LINDEN. But-?

NORA. Papa didn't give us one penny. It was I that found the money.

MRS. LINDEN. You? All that money?

NORA. Twelve hundred dollars. Four thousand eight hundred crowns.

What do you say to that?

MRS. LINDEN. My dear Nora, how did you manage it? Did you win it in

the lottery?

-8-

NORA. [Contemptuosly.] In the lottery? Pooh! Any one could have

done that!

MRS. LINDEN. Then wherever did you get it from?

NORA. [Hums and smiles mysteriously.] H'm; tra-la-la-la!

MRS. LINDEN. Of course you couldn't borrow it.

NORA. No? Why not?

MRS. LINDEN. Why, a wife can't borrow without her husband's

consent.

NORA. [Tossing her head.] Oh! when the wife has some idea of

business, and knows how to set about things-

MRS. LINDEN. But, Nora, I don't understand-

NORA. Well, you needn't. I never said I borrowed the money. There

are many ways I may have got it. [Throws herself back on the

sofa.] I may have got it from some admirer. When one is so-

attractive as I am-

MRS. LINDEN. You're too silly, Nora.

NORA. Now I'm sure you're dying of curiosity, Christina-

MRS. LINDEN. Listen to me, Nora dear: haven't you been a little

rash?

NORA. [Sitting upright again.] Is it rash to save one's husband's

life?

MRS. LINDEN. I think it was rash of you, without his knowledge-

NORA. But it would have been fatal for him to know! Can't you

understand that? He wasn't even to suspect how ill he was. The

doctors came to me privately and told me his life was in danger-

that nothing could save him but a winter in the South. Do you

think I didn't try diplomacy first? I told him how I longed to

have a trip abroad, like other young wives; I wept and prayed; I

said he ought to think of my condition, and not to thwart me; and

then I hinted that he could borrow the money. But then,

Christina, he got almost angry. He said I was frivolous, and that

it was his duty as a husband not to yield to my whims and

fancies- so he called them. Very well, thought I, but saved you

must be; and then I found the way to do it.

MRS. LINDEN. And did your husband never learn from your father that

the money was not from him?

NORA. No; never. Papa died at that very time. I meant to have told

him all about it, and begged him to say nothing. But he was so

ill- unhappily, it wasn't necessary.

MRS. LINDEN. And you have never confessed to your husband?

NORA. Good heavens! What can you be thinking of of? Tell him when

he has such a loathing of debt And besides- how painful and

humiliating it would he for Torvald, with his manly self-respect,

to know that he owed anything to me! It would utterly upset the

relation between us; our beautiful, happy home would never again

be what it is.

MRS. LINDEN. Will you never tell him?

NORA. [Thoughtfully, half-smiling.] Yes, some time perhaps- many,

many years hence, when I'm- not so pretty. You mustn't laugh at

me! Of course I mean when Torvald is not so much in love with me

as he is now; when it doesn't amuse him any longer to see me

dancing about, and dressing up and acting. Then it might be well

to have something in reserve. [Breaking off.] Nonsense! nonsense!

That time will never come. Now, what do you say to my grand

secret, Christina? Am I fit for nothing now? You may believe it

has cost me a lot of anxiety. It has been no joke to meet my

engagements punctually. You must know, Christina, that in

business there are things called instalments, and quarterly

interest, that are terribly hard to provide for. So I've had to

pinch a little here and there, wherever I could. I couldn't save

much out of the housekeeping, for of course Torvald had to live

-9-

well. And I couldn't let the children go about badly dressed; all

I got for them, I spent on them, the blessed darlings!

MRS. LINDEN. Poor Nora! So it had to come out of your own

pocket-money.

NORA. Yes, of course. After all, the whole thing was my doing. When

Torvald gave me money for clothes, and so on, I never spent more

than half of it; I always bought the simplest and cheapest

things. It's a mercy that everything suits me so well- Torvald

never had any suspicions. But it was often very hard, Christina

dear. For it's nice to be beautifully dressed- now, isn't it?

MRS.LINDEN. Indeed it is.

NORA. Well, and besides that, I made money in other ways. Last

winter I was so lucky- I got a heap of copying to do. I shut

myself up every evening and wrote far into the night. Oh,

sometimes I was so tired, so tired. And yet it was splendid to

work in that way and earn money. I almost felt as if I was a man.

MRS. LINDEN. Then how much have you been able to pay off?

NORA. Well, I can't precisely say. It's difficult to keep that sort

of business clear. I only know that I've paid everything I could

scrape together. Sometimes I really didn't know where to turn.

[Smiles.] Then I used to sit here and pretend that a rich old

gentleman was in love with me-

MRS. LINDEN. What! gentleman?

NORA. Oh, nobody!- that he was dead now, and that when his will was

opened, there stood in large letters: "Pay over at once

everything of which I die possessed to that charming person, Mrs.

Nora Helmer."

MRS. LINDEN. But, my dear Nora- what gentleman do you mean?

NORA. Oh dear, can't you understand? There wasn't any old

gentleman: it was only what I used to dream and dream when I was

at my wits' end for money. But it doesn't matter now- the

tiresome old creature may stay where he is for me. I care nothing

for him or his will; for now my troubles are over. [Springing

up.] Oh, Christina, how glorious it is to think of! Free from all

anxiety! Free, quite free. To be able to play and romp about with

the children; to have things tasteful and pretty in the house,

exactly as Torvald likes it! And then the spring will soon be

here, with the great blue sky. Perhaps then we shall have a

little holiday. Perhaps I shall see the sea again. Oh, what a

wonderful thing it is to live and to be happy!

[The hall-door bell rings.

MRS. LINDEN. [Rising.] There's a ring. Perhaps I had better go.

NORA. No; do stay. No one will come here. It's sure to be some one

for Torvald.

ELLEN. [In the doorway.] If you please, ma'am, there's a gentleman

to speak to Mr. Helmer.

NORA. Who is the gentleman?

KROGSTAD. [In the doorway.] It is I, Mrs. Helmer.

[MRS. LINDEN starts and turns away to the window.

NORA. [Goes a step towards him, anxiously, speaking low.] You? What

is it? What do you want with my husband?

KROGSTAD. Bank business- in a way. I hold a small post in the Joint

Stock Bank, and your husband is to be our new chief, I hear.

NORA. Then it is-?

KROGSTAD. Only tiresome business, Mrs. Helmer; nothing more.

NORA. Then will you please go to his study.

[KROGSTAD goes. She bows indifferently while she closes

the door into the hall. Then she goes to the stove and

looks to the fire.

MRS. LINDEN. Nora- who was that man?

NORA. A Mr. Krogstad- a lawyer.

-10-

MRS. LINDEN. Then it was really he?

NORA. Do you know him?

MRS. LINDEN. I used to know him- many years ago. He was in a

lawyer's office in our town.

NORA. Yes, so he was.

MRS. LINDEN. How he has changed!

NORA. I believe his marriage was unhappy.

MRS. LINDEN. And he is a widower now?

NORA. With a lot of children. There! Now it will burn up. [She

closes the stove, and pushes the rocking-chair a little aside.]

MRS. LINDEN. His business is not of the most creditable, they say?

NORA. Isn't it? I daresay not. I don't know. But don't let us think

of business- it's so tiresome.

DR. RANK comes out of HELMER'S room.

RANK. [Still in the doorway.] No, no; I'm in your way. I shall go

and have a chat with your wife. [Shuts the door and sees MRS.

LINDEN.] Oh, I beg your pardon. I'm in the way here too.

NORA. No, not in the least. [Introduces them.] Doctor Rank- Mrs.

Linden.

RANK. Oh, indeed; I've often heard Mrs. Linden's name; I think I

passed you on the stairs as I came up.

MRS. LINDEN. Yes; I go so very slowly. Stairs try me so much.

RANK. Ah- you are not very strong?

MRS. LINDEN. Only overworked.

RANK. Nothing more? Then no doubt you've come to town to find rest

in a round of dissipation?

MRS. LINDEN. I have come to look for employment.

RANK. Is that an approved remedy for overwork?

MRS. LINDEN. One must live, Doctor Rank.

RANK. Yes, that seems to be the general opinion.

NORA. Come, Doctor Rank- you want to live yourself.

RANK. To be sure I do. However wretched I may be, I want to drag on

as long as possible. All my patients, too, have the same mania.

And it's the same with people whose complaint is moral. At this

very moment Helmer is talking to just such a moral incurable-

MRS. LINDEN. [Softly.] Ah!

NORA. Whom do you mean?

RANK. Oh, a fellow named Krogstad, a man you know nothing about-

corrupt to the very core of his character. But even he began by

announcing, as a matter of vast importance, that he must live.

NORA. Indeed? And what did he want with Torvald?

RANK. I haven't an idea; I only gathered that it was some bank

business.

NORA. I didn't know that Krog- that this Mr. Krogstad had anything

to do with the Bank?

RANK. Yes. He has got some sort of place there. [To MRS. LINDEN.]

I don't know whether in your part of the country, you have

people who go grubbing and sniffing around in search of moral

rottenness- and then, when they have found a "case," don't rest

till they have got their man into some good position, where they

can keep a watch upon him. Men with a clean bill of health they

leave out in the cold.

MRS. LINDEN. Well, I suppose the- delicate characters require most

care.

RANK. [Shrugs his shoulders.] There we have it! It's that notion

that makes society a hospital.

[NORA, deep in her own thoughts, breaks into half-stifled

laughter and claps her hands.

RANK. Why do you laugh at that? Have you any idea what "society"

-11-

is?

NORA. What do I care for your tiresome society? I was laughing at

something else- something excessively amusing. Tell me, Doctor

Rank, are all the employees at the Bank dependent on Torvald now?

RANK. Is that what strikes you as excessively amusing?

NORA. [Smiles and hums.] Never mind, never mind! [Walks about the

room.] Yes, it is funny to think that we- that Torvald has such

power over so many people. [Takes the bag from her pocket.]

Doctor Rank, will you have a macaroon?

RANK. What!- macaroons! I thought they were contraband here.

NORA. Yes; but Christina brought me these.

MRS. LINDEN. What! I-?

NORA. Oh, well! Don't be frightened. You couldn't possibly know

that Torvald had forbidden them. The fact is, he's afraid of me

spoiling my teeth. But, oh bother, just for once!- That's for

you, Doctor Rank! [Puts a macaroon into his mouth.] And you too,

Christina. And I'll have one while we're about it- only a tiny

one, or at most two. [Walks about again.] Oh dear, I am happy!

There's only one thing in the world I really want.

RANK. Well; what's that?

NORA. There's something I should so like to say- in Torvald's

hearing.

RANK. Then why don't you say it?

NORA. Because I daren't, it's so ugly.

MRS. LINDEN. Ugly!

RANK. In that case you'd better not. But to us you might- What is

it you would so like to say in Helmer's hearing?

NORA. I should so love to say "Damn it all!" *

* "Dod og pine," literally "death and torture"; but by usage a

comparatively mild oath.

RANK. Are you out of your mind?

MRS. LINDEN. Good gracious, Nora-!

RANK. Say it- there he is!

NORA. [Hides the macaroons.] Hush- sh- sh!

HELMER comes out of his room, hat in hand, with

his overcoat on his arm.

NORA. [Going to him.] Well, Torvald dear, have you got rid of him?

HELMER. Yes; he has just gone.

NORA. Let me introduce you- this is Christina, who has come to

town-

HELMER. Christina? Pardon me, I don't know-

NORA. Mrs. Linden, Torvald dear- Christina Linden.

HELMER. [To MRS. LINDEN.] Indeed! A school-friend of my wife's, no

doubt?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes; we knew each other as girls.

NORA. And only think! she has taken this long journey on purpose to

speak to you.

HELMER. To speak to me!

MRS. LINDEN. Well, not quite-

NORA. You see, Christina is tremendously clever at office-work, and

she's so anxious to work under a first-rate man of business in

order to learn still more-

HELMER. [To MRS. LINDEN.] Very sensible indeed.

NORA. And when she heard you were appointed manager-

it was telegraphed, you know- she started off at once, and-

Torvald, dear, for my sake, you must do something for Christina.

Now can't you?

-12-

HELMER. It's not impossible. I presume Mrs. Linden is a widow?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes.

HELMER. And you have already had some experience of business?

MRS. LINDEN. A good deal.

HELMER. Well, then, it's very likely I may be able to find a place

for you.

NORA. [Clapping her hands.] There now! There now!

HELMER. You have come at a fortunate moment, Mrs. Linden.

MRS. LINDEN. Oh, how can I thank you-?

HELMER. [Smiling.] There is no occasion. [Puts on his overcoat.]

But for the present you must excuse me-

RANK. Wait; I am going with you. [Fetches his fur coat from the

hall and warms it at the fire.]

NORA. Don't be long, Torvald dear.

HELMER. Only an hour; not more.

NORA. Are you going too, Christina?

MRS. LINDEN. [Putting on her walking things.] Yes; I must set about

looking for lodgings.

HELMER. Then perhaps we can go together?

NORA. [Helping her.] What a pity we haven't a spare room for you;

but it's impossible-

MRS. LINDEN. I shouldn't think of troubling you. Good-bye, dear

Nora, and thank you for all your kindness.

NORA. Good-bye for the present. Of course you'll come back this

evening. And you, too, Doctor Rank. What! If you're well enough?

Of course you'll be well enough. Only wrap up warmly. [They go

out, talking, into the hall. Outside on the stairs are heard

children's voices.] There they are! There they are! [She runs to

the outer door and opens it. The nurse, ANNA, enters the hall

with the children.] Come in! Come in! [Stoops down and kisses the

children.] Oh, my sweet darlings! Do you see them, Christina?

Aren't they lovely?

RANK. Don't let us stand here chattering in the draught.

HELMER. Come, Mrs. Linden; only mothers can stand such a

temperature.

[DR. RANK, HELMER, and MRS. LINDEN go down the stairs;

ANNA enters the room with the children; NORA also,

shutting the door.

NORA. How fresh and bright you look! And what red cheeks you've

got! Like apples and roses. [The children chatter to her during

what follows.] Have you had great fun? That's splendid! Oh,

really! You've been giving Emmy and Bob a ride on your sledge!-

both at once, only think, Why, you're quite a man, Ivar. Oh, give

her to me a little, Anna. My sweet little dolly! [Takes the

smallest from the nurse and dances with her.] Yes, yes; mother

will dance with Bob too. What! Did you have a game of snowballs?

Oh, I wish I'd been there. No; leave them, Anna; I'll take their

things off. Oh, yes, let me do it; it's such fun. Go to the

nursery; you look frozen. You'll find some hot coffee on the

stove.

[The NURSE goes into the room on the left. NORA takes

off the children's things and throws them down

anywhere, while the children talk all together.

Really! A big dog ran after you? But he didn't bite you? No; dogs

don't bite dear little dolly children. Don't peep into those

parcels, Ivar. What is it? Wouldn't you like to know? Take care-

it'll bite! What? Shall we have a game? What shall we play at?

Hide-and-seek? Yes, let's play hide-and-seek. Bob shall hide

first. Am I to? Yes, let me hide first.

[She and the children play, with laughter and shouting,

in the room and the adjacent one to the right. At last

-13-

NORA hides under the table; the children come rushing

in, look for her, but cannot find her, hear her

half-choked laughter, rush to the table, lift up the

cover and see her. Loud shouts. She creeps out, as

though to frighten them. Fresh shouts. Meanwhile there

has been a knock at the door leading into the hall. No

one has heard it. Now the door is half opened and

KROGSTAD appears. He waits a little; the game is

renewed.

KROGSTAD. I beg your pardon, Mrs. Helmer-

NORA. [With a suppressed cry, turns round and half jumps up.] Ah!

What do you want?

KROGSTAD. Excuse me; the outer door was ajar- somebody must have

forgotten to shut it-

NORA. [Standing up.] My husband is not at home, Mr. Krogstad.

KROGSTAD. I know it.

NORA. Then what do you want here?

KROGSTAD. To say a few words to you.

NORA. To me? [To the children, softly.] Go in to Anna. What? No,

the strange man won't hurt mamma. When he's gone we'll go on

playing. [She leads the children into the left-hand room, and

shuts the door behind them. Uneasy, in suspense.] It is to me you

wish to speak?

KROGSTAD. Yes, to you.

NORA. To-day? But it's not the first yet-

KROGSTAD. No, to-day is Christmas Eve. It will depend upon yourself

whether you have a merry Christmas.

NORA. What do you want? I'm not ready to-day-

KROGSTAD. Never mind that just now. I have come about another

matter. You have a minute to spare?

NORA. Oh, yes, I suppose so; although-

KROGSTAD. Good. I was sitting in the restaurant opposite, and I saw

your husband go down the street-

NORA. Well?

KROGSTAD. -with a lady.

NORA. What then?

KROGSTAD. May I ask if the lady was a Mrs Linden?

NORA. Yes.

KROGSTAD. Who has just come to town?

NORA. Yes. To-day.

KROGSTAD. I believe she is an intimate friend of yours.

NORA. Certainly. But I don't understand-

KROGSTAD. I used to know her too.

NORA. I know you did.

KROGSTAD. Ah! You know all about it. I thought as much. Now,

frankly, is Mrs. Linden to have a place in the Bank?

NORA. How dare you catechise me in this way, Mr. Krogstad- you, a

subordinate of my husband's? But since you ask, you shall know.

Yes, Mrs. Linden is to be employed. And it is I who recommended

her, Mr. Krogstad. Now you know.

KROGSTAD. Then my guess was right.

NORA. [Walking up and down.] You see one has a wee bit of

influence, after all. It doesn't follow because one's only a

woman- When people are in a subordinate position, Mr. Krogstad,

they ought really to be careful how they offend anybody who- h'm-

KROGSTAD. -who has influence?

NORA. Exactly.

KROGSTAD. [Taking another tone.] Mrs. Helmer, will you have the

kindness to employ your influence on my behalf?

NORA. What? How do you mean?

KROGSTAD. Will you be so good as to see that I retain my

-14-

subordinate position in the Bank?

NORA. What do you mean? Who wants to take it from you?

KROGSTAD. Oh, you needn't pretend ignorance. I can very well

understand that it cannot be pleasant for your friend to meet

me; and I can also understand now for whose sake I am to be

hounded out.

NORA. But I assure you-

KROGSTAD. Come come now, once for all: there is time yet, and I

advise you to use your influence to prevent it.

NORA. But, Mr. Krogstad, I have no influence- absolutely none.

KROGSTAD. None? I thought you said a moment ago-

NORA. Of course not in that sense. I! How can you imagine that I

should have any such influence over my husband?

KROGSTAD. Oh, I know your husband from our college days. I don't

think he is any more inflexible than other husbands.

NORA. If you talk disrespectfully of my husband, I must request

you to leave the house.

KROGSTAD. You are bold, madam.

NORA. I am afraid of you no longer. When New Year's Day is over,

I shall soon be out of the whole business.

KROGSTAD. [Controlling himself.] Listen to me, Mrs. Helmer.

If need be, I shall fight as though for my life to keep

my little place in the Bank.

NORA. Yes, so it seems.

KROGSTAD. It's not only for the salary: that is what I care least

about. It's something else- Well, I had better make a clean

breast of it. Of course you know, like every one else, that some

years ago I- got into trouble.

NORA. I think I've heard something of the sort.

KROGSTAD. The matter never came into court; but from that moment

all paths were barred to me. Then I took up the business you know

about. I had to turn my hand to something; and I don't think I've

been one of the worst. But now I must get clear of it all. My

sons are growing up; for their sake I must try to recover my

character as well as I can. This place in the Bank was the first

step; and now your husband wants to kick me off the ladder, back

into the mire.

NORA. But I assure you, Mr. Krogstad, I haven't the least power to

help you.

KROGSTAD. That is because you have not the will; but I can compel

you.

NORA. You won't tell my husband that I owe you money?

KROGSTAD. H'm; suppose I were to?

NORA. It would be shameful of you. [With tears in her voice.] The

secret that is my joy and my pride- that he should learn it in

such an ugly, coarse way- and from you. It would involve me in

all sorts of unpleasantness-

KROGSTAD. Only unpleasantness?

NORA. [Hotly.] But just do it. It's you that will come off worst,

for then my husband will see what a bad man you are, and then you

certainly won't keep your place.

KROGSTAD. I asked whether it was only domestic unpleasantness you

feared?

NORA. If my husband gets to know about it, he will of course pay

you off at once, and then we shall have nothing more to do with

you.

KROGSTAD. [Coming a pace nearer.] Listen, Mrs. Helmer: either your

memory is defective, or you don't know much about business. I

must make the position a little clearer to you.

NORA. How so?

KROGSTAD. When your husband was ill, you came to me to borrow

-15-

twelve hundred dollars.

NORA. I knew of nobody else.

KROGSTAD. I promised to find you the money-

NORA. And you did find it.

KROGSTAD. I promised to find you the money, on certain conditions.

You were so much taken up at the time about your husband's

illness, and so eager to have the wherewithal for your journey,

that you probably did not give much thought to the details. Allow

me to remind you of them. I promised to find you the amount in

exchange for a note of hand, which I drew up.

NORA. Yes, and I signed it.

KROGSTAD. Quite right. But then I added a few lines, making your

father security for the debt. Your father was to sign this.

NORA. Was to-? He did sign it!

KROGSTAD. I had left the date blank. That is to say, your father

was himself to date his signature. Do you recollect that?

NORA. Yes, I believe-

KROGSTAD. Then I gave you the paper to send to your father, by

post. Is not that so?

NORA. Yes.

KROGSTAD. And of course you did so at once; for within five or six

days you brought me back the document with your father's

signature; and I handed you the money.

NORA. Well? Have I not made my payments punctually?

KROGSTAD. Fairly- yes. But to return to the point: You were in

great trouble at the time, Mrs. Helmer.

NORA. I was indeed!

KROGSTAD. Your father was very ill, I believe?

NORA. He was on his death-bed.

KROGSTAD. And died soon after?

NORA. Yes.

KROGSTAD. Tell me, Mrs. Helmer: do you happen to recollect the day

of his death? The day of the month, I mean?

NORA. Father died on the 29th of September.

KROGSTAD. Quite correct. I have made inquiries. And here comes in

the remarkable point- [Produces a paper.] which I cannot explain.

NORA. What remarkable point? I don't know-

KROGSTAD. The remarkable point, madam, that your father signed this

paper three days after his death!

NORA. What! I don't understand-

KROGSTAD. Your father died on the 29th of September. But look here:

he has dated his signature October 2nd! Is not that remarkable,

Mrs. Helmer? [NORA is silent.] Can you explain it? [NORA

continues silent.] It is noteworthy, too, that the words

"October 2nd" and the year are not in your father's handwriting,

but in one which I believe I know. Well, this may be explained;

your father may have forgotten to date his signature, and

somebody may have added the date at random, before the fact of

your father's death was known. There is nothing wrong in that.

Everything depends on the signature. Of course it is genuine,

Mrs. Helmer? It was really your father himself who wrote his name

here?

NORA. [After a short silence, throws her head back and looks

defiantly at him.] No, it was not. I wrote father's name.

KROGSTAD. Ah!- Are you aware, madam, that that is a dangerous

admission?

NORA. How so? You will soon get your money.

KROGSTAD. May I ask you one more question? Why did you not send the

paper to your father?

NORA. It was impossible. Father was ill. If I had asked him for his

signature, I should have had to tell him why I wanted the money;

-16-

but he was so ill I really could not tell him that my husband's

life was in danger. It was impossible.

KROGSTAD. Then it would have been better to have given up your

tour.

NORA. No, I couldn't do that; my husband's life depended on that

journey. I couldn't give it up.

KROGSTAD. And did it never occur to you that you were playing me

false?

NORA. That was nothing to me. I didn't care in the least about you.

I couldn't endure you for all the cruel difficulties you made,

although you knew how ill my husband was.

KROGSTAD. Mrs. Helmer, you evidently do not realise what you have

been guilty of. But I can assure you it was nothing more and

nothing worse that made me an outcast from society.

NORA. You! You want me to believe that you did a brave thing to

save your wife's life?

KROGSTAD. The law takes no account of motives.

NORA. Then it must be a very bad law.

KROGSTAD. Bad or not, if I produce this document in court, you will

be condemned according to law.

NORA. I don't believe that. Do you mean to tell me that a daughter

has no right to spare her dying father trouble and anxiety?- that

a wife has no right to save her husband's life? I don't know much

about the law, but I'm sure you'll find, somewhere or another,

that that is allowed. And you don't know that- you, a lawyer! You

must be a bad one, Mr. Krogstad.

KROGSTAD. Possibly. But business- such business as ours- I do

understand. You believe that? Very well; now do as you please.

But this I may tell you, that if I am flung into the gutter a

second time, you shall keep me company.

[Bows and goes out through hall.

NORA. [Stands a while thinking, then tosses her head.] Oh nonsense!

He wants to frighten me. I'm not so foolish as that. [Begins

folding the children's clothes. Pauses.] But-? No, it's

impossible! Why, I did it for love!

CHILDREN. [At the door, left.] Mamma, the strange man has gone now.

NORA. Yes, yes, I know. But don't tell any one about the strange

man. Do you hear? Not even papa!

CHILDREN. No, mamma; and now will you play with us again?

NORA. No, no; not now.

CHILDREN. Oh, do, mamma; you know you promised.

NORA. Yes, but I can't just now. Run to the nursery; I have so much

to do. Run along,- run along, and be good, my darlings! [She

pushes them gently into the inner room, and closes the door

behind them. Sits on the sofa, embroiders a few stitches, but

soon pauses.] No! [Throws down the work, rises, goes to the hall

door and calls out.] Ellen, bring in the Christmas-tree! [Goes to

table, left, and opens the drawer, again pauses.] No, it's quite

impossible!

ELLEN. [With Christmas-tree.] Where shall I stand it, ma'am?

NORA. There, in the middle of the room.

ELLEN. Shall I bring in anything else?

NORA. No, thank you, I have all I want.

[ELLEN, having put down the tree, goes out.

NORA. [Busy dressing the tree.] There must be a candle here- and

flowers there.- That horrible man! Nonsense, nonsense! there's

nothing to be afraid of. The Christmas-tree shall be beautiful.

I'll do everything to please you, Torvald; I'll sing and dance,-

Enter HELMER by the hall door, with a bundle of documents.

-17-

NORA. Oh! You're back already?

HELMER. Yes. Has anybody been here?

NORA. No.

HELMER. That's odd. I saw Krogstad come out of the house.

NORA. Did you? Oh, yes, by-the-bye, he was here for a minute.

HELMER. Nora, I can see by your manner that he has been begging you

to put in a good word for him.

NORA. Yes.

HELMER. And you were to do it as if of your own accord? You were to

say nothing to me of his having been here. Didn't he suggest that

too?

NORA. Yes, Torvald; but-

HELMER. Nora, Nora! And you could condescend to that! To speak to

such a man, to make him a promise! And then to tell me an untruth

about it!

NORA. An untruth!

HELMER. Didn't you say that nobody had been here? [Threatens with

his finger.] My little bird must never do that again! A song-bird

must sing clear and true; no false notes. [Puts his arm round

her.] That's so, isn't it? Yes, I was sure of it. [Lets her go]

And now we'll say no more about it. [Sits down before the fire.]

Oh, how cosy and quiet it is here! [Glances into his documents.]

NORA. [Busy with the tree, after a short silence.] Torvald!

HELMER. Yes.

NORA. I'm looking forward so much to the Stenborgs' fancy ball

the day after to-morrow.

HELMER. And I'm on tenterhooks to see what surprise you have in

store for me.

NORA. Oh, it's too tiresome!

HELMER. What is?

NORA. I can't think of anything good. Everything seems so foolish

and meaningless.

HELMER. Has little Nora made that discovery?

NORA. [Behind his chair, with her arms on the back.] Are you very

busy, Torvald?

HELMER. Well-

NORA. What papers are those?

HELMER. Bank business.

NORA. Already!

HELMER. I have got the retiring manager to let me make some

necessary changes in the staff and the organization. I can do

this during Christmas week. I want to have everything straight

by the New Year.

NORA. Then that's why that poor Krogstad-

HELMER. H'm.

NORA. [Still leaning over the chair-back and slowly stroking his

hair.] If you hadn't been so very busy, I should have asked you a

great, great favour, Torvald.

HELMER. What can it be? Out with it.

NORA. Nobody has such perfect taste as you; and I should so love to

look well at the fancy ball. Torvald, dear, couldn't you take me

in hand, and settle what I'm to be, and arrange my costume for

me?

HELMER. Aha! So my wilful little woman is at a loss, and making

signals of distress.

NORA. Yes, please, Torvald. I can't get on without your help.

HELMER. Well, well, I'll think it over, and we'll soon hit upon

something.

NORA. Oh, how good that is of you! [Goes to the tree again; pause.]

How well the red flowers show.- Tell me, was it anything so very

dreadful this Krogstad got into trouble about?

-18-

HELMER. Forgery, that's all. Don't you know what that means?

NORA. Mayn't he have been driven to it by need?

HELMER. Yes; or, like so many others, he may have done it in pure

heedlessness. I am not so hard-hearted as to condemn a man

absolutely for a single fault.

NORA. No, surely not, Torvald!

HELMER. Many a man can retrieve his character, if he owns his crime

and takes the punishment.

NORA. Punishment-?

HELMER. But Krogstad didn't do that. He evaded the law by means of

tricks and subterfuges; and that is what has morally ruined him.

NORA. Do you think that-?

HELMER. Just think how a man with a thing of that sort on his

conscience must be always lying and canting and shamming. Think

of the mask he must wear even towards those who stand nearest

him- towards his own wife and children. The effect on the

children- that's the most terrible part of it, Nora.

NORA. Why?

HELMER. Because in such an atmosphere of lies home life is poisoned

and contaminated in every fibre. Every breath the children draw

contains some germ of evil.

NORA. [Closer behind him.] Are you sure of that?

HELMER. As a lawyer, my dear, I have seen it often enough. Nearly

all cases of early corruption may be traced to lying mothers.

NORA. Why- mothers?

HELMER. It generally comes from the mother's side; but of course

the father's influence may act in the same way. Every lawyer

knows it too well. And here has this Krogstad been poisoning his

own children for years past by a life of lies and hypocrisy- that

is why I call him morally ruined. [Holds out both hands to her.]

So my sweet little Nora must promise not to plead his cause.

Shake hands upon it. Come, come, what's this? Give me your hand.

That's right. Then it's a bargain. I assure you it would have

been impossible for me to work with him. It gives me a positive

sense of physical discomfort to come in contact with such people.

[NORA draws her hand away, and moves to the other side

of the Christmas-tree.

NORA. How warm it is here. And I have so much to do.

HELMER. [Rises and gathers up his papers.] Yes, and I must try to

get some of these papers looked through before dinner. And I

shall think over your costume too. Perhaps I may even find

something to hang in gilt paper on the Christmas-tree-. [Lays

his hand on her head.] My precious little song-bird!

[He goes into his room and shuts the door.

NORA. [Softly, after a pause.] It can't be. It's impossible. It

must be impossible!

ANNA. [At the door, left.] The little ones are begging so prettily

to come to mamma.

NORA. No, no, no; don't let them come to me! Keep them with you,

Anna.

ANNA. Very well, ma'am. [Shuts the door.

NORA. [Pale with terror.] Corrupt my children!- Poison my home!

[Short pause. She throws back her head.] It's not true! It can

never, never be true!

ACT SECOND

The same room. In the corner, beside the piano, stands the

Christmas-tree, stripped, and with the candles burnt out. NORA's

outdoor things lie on the sofa.

-19-

NORA, alone, is walking about restlessly. At last she stops by

the sofa, and takes up her cloak.

NORA. [Dropping the cloak.] There's somebody coming! [Goes to the

hall door and listens.] Nobody; of course nobody will come

to-day, Christmas-day; nor to-morrow either. But perhaps- [Opens

the door and looks out.]- No, nothing in the letter box; quite

empty. [Comes forward.] Stuff and nonsense! Of course he won't

really do anything. Such a thing couldn't happen. It's

impossible! Why, I have three little children.

ANNA enters from the left, with a large cardboard box.

ANNA. I've found the box with the fancy dress at last.

NORA. Thanks; put it down on the table.

ANNA. [Does so.] But I'm afraid it's very much out of order.

NORA. Oh, I wish I could tear it into a hundred thousand pieces!

ANNA. Oh, no. It can easily be put to rights- just a little

patience.

NORA. I shall go and get Mrs. Linden to help me.

ANNA. Going out again? In such weather as this! You'll catch cold,

ma'am, and be ill.

NORA. Worse things might happen.- What are the children doing?

ANNA. They're playing with their Christmas presents, poor little

dears; but-

NORA. Do they often ask for me?

ANNA. You see they've been so used to having their mamma with them.

NORA. Yes; but, Anna, I can't have them so much with me in future.

ANNA. Well, little children get used to anything.

NORA. Do you think they do? Do you believe they would forget their

mother if she went quite away?

ANNA. Gracious me! Quite away?

NORA. Tell me, Anna- I've so often wondered about it- how could you

bring yourself to give your child up to strangers?

ANNA. I had to when I came to nurse my little Miss Nora.

NORA. But how could you make up your mind to it?

ANNA. When I had the chance of such a good place? A poor girl who's

been in trouble must take what comes. That wicked man did nothing

for me.

NORA. But your daughter must have forgotten you.

ANNA. Oh, no, ma'am, that she hasn't. She wrote to me both when she

was confirmed and when she was married.

NORA. [Embracing her.] Dear old Anna- you were a good mother to me

when I was little.

ANNA. My poor little Nora had no mother but me.

NORA. And if my little ones had nobody else, I'm sure you would-

Nonsense, nonsense! [Opens the box.] Go in to the children. Now I

must- You'll see how lovely I shall be to-morrow.

ANNA. I'm sure there will be no one at the ball so lovely as my

Miss Nora.

[She goes into the room on the left.

NORA. [Takes the costume out of the box, but soon throws it down

again.] Oh, if I dared go out. If only nobody would come. If only

nothing would happen here in the meantime. Rubbish; nobody is

coming. Only not to think. What a delicious muff! Beautiful

gloves, beautiful gloves! To forget- to forget! One, two, three,

four, five, six- [With a scream.] Ah, there they come.

[Goes towards the door, then stands irresolute.

MRS. LINDEN enters from the hall, where she has

taken off her things.

-20-

NORA. Oh, it's you, Christina. There's nobody else there? I'm so

glad you have come.

MRS. LINDEN. I hear you called at my lodgings.

NORA. Yes, I was just passing. There's something you must help me

with. Let us sit here on the sofa so. To-morrow evening there's

to be a fancy ball at Consul Stenborg's overhead, and Torvald

wants me to appear as a Neapolitan fisher-girl, and dance the

tarantella; I learned it at Capri.

MRS. LINDEN. I see- quite a performance.

NORA. Yes, Torvald wishes it. Look, this is the costume; Torvald

had it made for me in Italy. But now it's all so torn, I don't

know-

MRS. LINDEN. Oh, we shall soon set that to rights. It's only the

trimming that has come loose here and there. Have you a needle

and thread? Ah, here's the very thing.

NORA. Oh, how kind of you.

MRS. LINDEN. [Sewing.] So you're to be in costume to-morrow, Nora?

I'll tell you what- I shall come in for a moment to see you in

all your glory. But I've quite forgotten to thank you for the

pleasant evening yesterday.

NORA. [Rises and walks across the room.] Oh, yesterday, it didn't

seem so pleasant as usual.- You should have come to town a little

sooner, Christina.- Torvald has certainly the art of making home

bright and beautiful.

MRS. LINDEN. You too, I should think, or you wouldn't be your

father's daughter. But tell me- is Doctor Rank always so

depressed as he was last evening?

NORA. No, yesterday it was particularly noticeable. You see, he

suffers from a dreadful illness. He has spinal consumption,

poor fellow. They say his father was a horrible man, who kept

mistresses and all sorts of things- so the son has been sickly

from his childhood, you understand.

MRS. LINDEN. [Lets her sewing fall into her lap.] Why, my darling

Nora, how do you come to know such things?

NORA. [Moving about the room.] Oh, when one has three children, one

sometimes has visits from women who are half- half doctors- and

they talk of one thing and another.

MRS. LINDEN. [Goes on sewing; a short pause.] Does Doctor Rank come

here every day?

NORA. Every day of his life. He has been Torvald's most intimate

friend from boyhood, and he's a good friend of mine too. Doctor

Rank is quite one of the family.

MRS. LINDEN. But tell me- is he quite sincere? I mean, isn't he

rather given to flattering people?

NORA. No, quite the contrary. Why should you think so?

MRS. LINDEN. When you introduced us yesterday he said he had often

heard my name; but I noticed afterwards that your husband had no

notion who I was. How could Doctor Rank-?

NORA. He was quite right, Christina. You see, Torvald loves me so

indescribably, he wants to have me all to himself, as he says.

When we were first married he was almost jealous if I even

mentioned any of my old friends at home; so naturally I gave up

doing it. But I often talk of the old times to Doctor Rank, for

he likes to hear about them.

MRS. LINDEN. Listen to me, Nora! You are still a child in many

ways. I am older than you, and have had more experience. I'll

tell you something? You ought to get clear of all this with Dr.

Rank.

NORA. Get clear of what?

MRS. LINDEN. The whole affair, I should say. You were talking

-21-

yesterday of a rich admirer who was to find you money-

NORA. Yes, one who never existed, worse luck. What then?

MRS. LINDEN. Has Doctor Rank money?

NORA. Yes, he has.

MRS. LINDEN. And nobody to provide for?

NORA. Nobody. But-?

MRS. LINDEN. And he comes here every day?

NORA. Yes, I told you so.

MRS. LINDEN. I should have thought he would have had better taste.

NORA. I don't understand you a bit.

MRS. LINDEN. Don't pretend, Nora. Do you suppose I can't guess who

lent you the twelve hundred dollars?

NORA. Are you out of your senses? How can you think such a thing? A

friend who comes here every day! Why, the position would be

unbearable!

MRS. LINDEN. Then it really is not he?

NORA. No, I assure you. It never for a moment occurred to me-

Besides, at that time he had nothing to lend; he came into his

property afterwards.

MRS. LINDEN. Well, I believe that was lucky for you, Nora dear.

NORA. No, really, it would never have struck me to ask Dr. Rank-

And yet, I'm certain that if I did-

MRS. LINDEN. But of course you never would.

NORA. Of course not. It's inconceivable that it should ever be

necessary. But I'm quite sure that if I spoke to Doctor Rank-

MRS. LINDEN. Behind your husband's back?

NORA. I must get clear of the other thing; that's behind his back

too. I must get clear of that.

MRS. LINDEN. Yes, yes, I told you so yesterday; but-

NORA. [Walking up and down.] A man can manage these things much

better than a woman.

MRS. LINDEN. One's own husband, yes.

NORA. Nonsense. [Stands still.] When everything is paid, one gets

back the paper.

MRS. LINDEN. Of course.

NORA. And can tear it into a hundred thousand pieces, and burn it

up, the nasty, filthy thing!

MRS. LINDEN. [Looks at her fixedly, lays down her work, and rises

slowly.] Nora, you are hiding something from me.

NORA. Can you see it in my face?

MRS. LINDEN. Something has happened since yesterday morning. Nora,

what is it?

NORA. [Going towards her.] Christina-! [Listens.] Hush! There's

Torvald coming home. Do you mind going into the nursery for the

present? Torvald can't bear to see dressmaking going on. Get Anna

to help you.

MRS. LINDEN. [Gathers some of the things together.] Very well; but

I shan't go away until you have told me all about it.

[She goes out to the left, as HELMER enters from the

hall.

NORA. [Runs to meet him.] Oh, how I've been longing for you to

come, Torvald dear!

HELMER. Was that the dressmaker-?

NORA. No, Christina. She's helping me with my costume. You'll see

how nice I shall look.

HELMER. Yes, wasn't that a happy thought of mine?

NORA. Splendid! But isn't it good of me, too, to have given in to

you about the tarantella?

HELMER. [Takes her under the chin.] Good of you! To give in to your

own husband? Well well, you little madcap, I know you don't mean

it. But I won't disturb you. I daresay you want to be "trying

-22-

on."

NORA. And you are going to work, I suppose?

HELMER. Yes. [Shows her a bundle of papers.] Look here. I've just

come from the Bank-

[Goes towards his room.

NORA. Torvald.

HELMER. [Stopping.] Yes?

NORA. If your little squirrel were to beg you for something so

prettily-

HELMER. Well?

NORA. Would you do it?

HELMER. I must know first what it is.

NORA. The squirrel would skip about and play all sorts of tricks if

you would only be nice and kind.

HELMER. Come, then, out with it.

NORA. Your lark would twitter from morning till night-

HELMER. Oh, that she does in any case.

NORA. I'll be an elf and dance in the moonlight for you, Torvald.

HELMER. Nora- you can't mean what you were hinting at this morning?

NORA. [Coming nearer.] Yes, Torvald, I beg and implore you!

HELMER. Have you really the courage to begin that again?

NORA. Yes, yes; for my sake, you must let Krogstad keep his place

in the Bank.

HELMER. My dear Nora, it's his place I intend for Mrs. Linden.

NORA. Yes, that's so good of you. But instead of Krogstad, you

could dismiss some other clerk.

HELMER. Why, this is incredible obstinacy! Because you have

thoughtlessly promised to put in a word for him, I am to-!

NORA. It's not that, Torvald. It's for your own sake. This man

writes for the most scurrilous newspapers; you said so yourself.

He can do you no end of harm. I'm so terribly afraid of him-

HELMER. Ah, I understand; it's old recollections that are

frightening you.

NORA. What do you mean?

HELMER. Of course you're thinking of your father.

NORA. Yes- yes, of course. Only think of the shameful slanders

wicked people used to write about father. I believe they would

have got him dismissed if you hadn't been sent to look into the

thing, and been kind to him, and helped him.

HELMER. My little Nora, between your father and me there is all the

difference in the world. Your father was not altogether

unimpeachable. I am; and I hope to remain so.

NORA. Oh, no one knows what wicked men may hit upon. We could live

so quietly and happily now, in our cosy, peaceful home, you and I

and the children, Torvald! That's why I beg and implore you-

HELMER. And it is just by pleading his cause that you make it

impossible for me to keep him. It's already known at the Bank

that I intend to dismiss Krogstad. If it were now reported that

the new manager let himself be turned round his wife's little

finger-

NORA. What then?

HELMER. Oh, nothing, so long as a wilful woman can have her way-!

I am to make myself a laughing-stock to the whole staff, and set

people saying that I am open to all sorts of outside influence?

Take my word for it, I should soon feel the consequences. And

besides there is one thing that makes Krogstad impossible for me

to work with-

NORA. What thing?

HELMER. I could perhaps have overlooked his moral failings at a

pinch-

NORA. Yes, couldn't you, Torvald?

-23-

HELMER. And I hear he is good at his work. But the fact is, he was

a college chum of mine- there was one of those rash friendships

between us that one so often repents of later. I may as well

confess it at once- he calls me by my Christian name; * and he is

tactless enough to do it even when others are present. He

delights in putting on airs of familiarity- Torvald here, Torvald

there! I assure you it's most painful to me. He would make my

position at the Bank perfectly unendurable.

* In the original, "We say 'thou' to each other."

NORA. Torvald, surely you're not serious?

HELMER. No? Why not?

NORA. That's such a petty reason.

HELMER. What! Petty! Do you consider me petty!

NORA. No, on the contrary, Torvald dear; and that's just why-

HELMER. Never mind; you call my motives petty; then I must be petty

too. Petty! Very well!- Now we'll put an end to this, once for

all. [Goes to the door into the hall and calls.] Ellen!

NORA. What do you want?

HELMER. [Searching among his papers.] To settle the thing. [ELLEN

enters.] Here; take this letter; give it to a messenger. See that

he takes it at once. The address is on it. Here's the money.

ELLEN. Very well, sir.

[Goes with the letter.

HELMER. [Putting his papers together.] There, Madam Obstinacy.

NORA. [Breathless.] Torvald- what was in the letter?

HELMER. Krogstad's dismissal.

NORA. Call it back again, Torvald! There's still time. Oh, Torvald,

call it back again! For my sake, for your own, for the children's

sake! Do you hear, Torvald? Do it! You don't know what that

letter may bring upon us all.

HELMER. Too late.

NORA. Yes, too late.

HELMER. My dear Nora, I forgive your anxiety, though it's anything

but flattering to me. Why should you suppose that I would be

afraid of a wretched scribbler's spite? But I forgive you all the

same, for it's a proof of your great love for me. [Takes her in

his arms.] That's as it should be, my own dear Nora. Let what

will happen- when it comes to the pinch, I shall have strength

and courage enough. You shall see: my shoulders are broad enough

to bear the whole burden.

NORA. [Terror-struck.] What do you mean by that?

HELMER. The whole burden, I say-

NORA. [With decision.] That you shall never, never do!

HELMER. Very well; then we'll share it, Nora, as man and wife. That

is how it should be. [Petting her.] Are you satisfied now? Come,

come, come, don't look like a scared dove. It's all nothing-

foolish fancies.- Now you ought to play the tarantella through

and practise with the tambourine. I shall sit in my inner room

and shut both doors, so that I shall hear nothing. as much noise

as you please. [Turns round in doorway.] And when Rank comes,

just tell him where I'm to be found.

[He nods to her, and goes with his papers into his

room, closing the door.

NORA. [Bewildered with terror, stands as though rooted to the

ground, and whispers.] He would do it. Yes, he would do it. He

would do it, in spite of all the world.- No, never that, never,

never! Anything rather than that! Oh, for some way of escape!

What shall I do-! [Hall bell rings.] Doctor Rank-!- Anything,

anything, rather than-!

-24-

[NORA draws her hands over her face, pulls herself

together, goes to the door and opens it. RANK stands

outside hanging up his fur coat. During what follows

it begins to grow dark.

NORA. Good afternoon, Doctor Rank, I knew you by your ring. But you

mustn't go to Torvald now. I believe he's busy.

RANK. And you?

Enters and closes the door.

NORA. Oh, you know very well, I have always time for you.

RANK. Thank you. I shall avail myself of your kindness as long as I

can.

NORA. What do you mean? As long as you can?

RANK. Yes. Does that frighten you?

NORA. I think it's an odd expression. Do you expect anything to

happen?

RANK. Something I have long been prepared for; but I didn't think

it would come so soon.

NORA. [Catching at his arm.] What have you discovered? Doctor Rank,

you must tell me!

RANK. [Sitting down by the stove.] I am running down hill. There's

no help for it.

NORA. [Draws a long breath of relief.] It's you-?

RANK. Who else should it be?- Why lie to one's self? I am the most

wretched of all my patients, Mrs. Helmer. In these last days I

have been auditing my life-account- bankrupt! Perhaps before a

month is over, I shall lie rotting in the church-yard.

NORA. Oh! What an ugly way to talk.

RANK. The thing itself is so confoundedly ugly, you see. But the

worst of it is, so many other ugly things have to be gone through

first. There is only one last investigation to be made, and when

that is over I shall know pretty certainly when the break-up will

begin. There's one thing I want to say to you: Helmer's delicate

nature shrinks so from all that is horrible: I will not have him

in my sick-room-

NORA. But, Doctor Rank-

RANK. I won't have him, I say- not on any account! I shall lock my

door against him.- As soon as I am quite certain of the worst, I

shall send you my visiting-card with a black cross on it; and

then you will know that the final horror has begun.

NORA. Why, you're perfectly unreasonable to-day; and I did so want

you to be in a really good humour.

RANK. With death staring me in the face?- And to suffer thus for

another's sin! Where's the justice of it? And in one way or

another you can trace in every family some such inexorable

retribution-

NORA. [Stopping her ears.] Nonsense, nonsense! Now cheer up!

RANK. Well, after all, the whole thing's only worth laughing at. My

poor innocent spine must do penance for my father's wild oats.

NORA. [At table, left.] I suppose he was too fond of asparagus and

Strasbourg pate, wasn't he?

RANK. Yes; and truffles.

NORA. Yes, truffles, to be sure. And oysters, I believe?

RANK. Yes, oysters; oysters, of course.

NORA. And then all the port and champagne! It's sad that all these

good things should attack the spine.

RANK. Especially when the luckless spine attacked never had any

good of them.

NORA. Ah, yes, that's the worst of it.

RANK. [Looks at her searchingly.] H'm-

-25-

NORA. [A moment later.] Why did you smile?

RANK. No; it was you that laughed.

NORA. No; it was you that smiled, Doctor Rank.

RANK. [Standing up.] I see you're deeper than I thought.

NORA. I'm in such a crazy mood to-day.

RANK. So it seems.

NORA. [With her hands on his shoulders.] Dear, dear Doctor Rank,

death shall not take you away from Torvald and me.

RANK. Oh, you'll easily get over the loss. The absent are soon

forgotten.

NORA. [Looks at him anxiously.] Do you think so?

RANK. People make fresh ties, and then-

NORA. Who make fresh ties?

RANK. You and Helmer will,- when I am gone. You yourself are taking

time by the forelock, it seems to me. What was that Mrs. Linden

doing here yesterday?

NORA. Oh!- you're surely not jealous of poor Christina?

RANK. Yes, I am. She will be my successor in this house. When I am

out of the way, this woman will perhaps-

NORA. Hush! Not so loud! She's in there.

RANK. To-day as well? You see!

NORA. Only to put my costume in order- dear me, how unreasonable

you are! [Sits on sofa.] Now do be good, Doctor Rank! To-morrow

you shall see how beautifully I shall dance; and then you may

fancy that I'm doing it all to please you- and of course Torvald

as well. [Takes various things out of box.] Doctor Rank, sit down

here, and I'll show you something.

RANK. [Sitting.] What is it?

NORA. Look here. Look!

RANK. Silk stockings.

NORA. Flesh-coloured. Aren't they lovely? It's so dark here now;

but to-morrow- No, no, no; you must only look at the feet. Oh,

well, I suppose you may look at the rest too.

RANK. H'm-

NORA. What are you looking so critical about? Do you think they

won't fit me?

RANK. I can't possibly give any competent opinion on that point.

NORA. Looking at him a moment.] For shame! [Hits him lightly on the

ear with the stockings.] Take that.

[Rolls them up again.

RANK. And what other wonders am I to see?

NORA. You sha'n't see anything more; for you don't behave nicely.

[She hums a little and searches among the things.

RANK. [After a short silence.] When I sit here gossiping with you,

I can't imagine- I simply cannot conceive- what would have become

of me if I had never entered this house.

NORA. [Smiling.] Yes, I think you do feel at home with us.

RANK. [More softly- looking straight before him.] And now to have

to leave it all-

NORA. Nonsense. You sha'n't leave us.

RANK. [In the same tone.] And not to be able to leave behind the

slightest token of gratitude; scarcely even a passing regret-

nothing but an empty place, that can be filled by the first

comer.

NORA. And if I were to ask you for-? No-

RANK. For what?

NORA. For a great proof of your friendship.

RANK. Yes- yes?

NORA. I mean- for a very, very great service-

RANK. Would you really, for once, make me so happy?

NORA. Oh, you don't know what it is.

-26-

RANK. Then tell me.

NORA. No, I really can't, Doctor Rank. It's far, far too much- not

only a service, but help and advice besides-

RANK. So much the better. I can't think what you can mean. But go

on. Don't you trust me?

NORA. As I trust no one else. I know you are my best and truest

friend. So I will tell you. Well then, Doctor Rank, there is

something you must help me to prevent. You know how deeply, how

wonderfully Torvald loves me; he wouldn't hesitate a moment to

give his very life for my sake.

RANK. [Bending towards her.] Nora- do you think he is the only one

who-?

NORA. [With a slight start.] Who-?

RANK. Who would gladly give his life for you?

NORA. [Sadly.] Oh!

RANK. I have sworn that you shall know it before I- go. I shall

never find a better opportunity.- Yes, Nora, now I have told you;

and now you know that you can trust me as you can no one else.

NORA. [Standing up; simply and calmly.] Let me pass, please.

RANK. [Makes way for her, but remains sitting.] Nora-

NORA. [In the doorway.] Ellen, bring the lamp. [Crosses to the

stove.] Oh dear, Doctor Rank, that was too bad of you.

RANK. [Rising.] That I have loved you as deeply as- any one else?

Was that too bad of me?

NORA. No, but that you should have told me so. It was so

unnecessary-

RANK. What do you mean? Did you know-?

ELLEN enters with the lamp; sets it on the table

and goes out again.

RANK. Nora- Mrs. Helmer- I ask you, did you know?

NORA. Oh, how can I tell what I knew or didn't know? I really can't

say- How could you be so clumsy, Doctor Rank? It was all so nice!

RANK. Well, at any rate, you know now that I am at your service,

body and soul. And now, go on.

NORA. [Looking at him.] Go on- now?

RANK. I beg you to tell me what you want.

NORA. I can tell you nothing now.

RANK. Yes, yes! You mustn't punish me in that way. Let me do for

you whatever a man can.

NORA. You can do nothing for me now.- Besides, I really want no

help. You shall see it was only my fancy. Yes, it must be so. Of

course! [Sits in the rocking-chair, looks at him and smiles.] You

are a nice person, Doctor Rank! Aren't you ashamed of yourself,

now that the lamp is on the table?

RANK. No; not exactly. But perhaps I ought to go- for ever.

NORA. No, indeed you mustn't. Of course you must come and go as

you've always done. You know very well that Torvald can't do

without you.

RANK. Yes, but you?

NORA. Oh, you know I always like to have you here.

RANK. That is just what led me astray. You are a riddle to me. It

has often seemed to me as if you liked being with me almost as

much as being with Helmer.

NORA. Yes; don't you see? There are people one loves, and others

one likes to talk to.

RANK. Yes- there's something in that.

NORA. When I was a girl, of course I loved papa best. But it always

delighted me to steal into the servants' room. In the first place

they never lectured me, and in the second it was such fun to hear

-27-

them talk.

RANK. Ah, I see; then it's their place I have taken?

NORA. [Jumps up and hurries towards him.] Oh, my dear Doctor Rank,

I don't mean that. But you understand, with Torvald it's the same

as with papa-

ELLEN enters from the hall.

ELLEN. Please, ma'am- [Whispers to NORA, and gives her a card.]

NORA. [Glancing at card.] Ah!

[Puts it in her pocket.

RANK. Anything wrong?

NORA. No, no, not in the least. It's only- it's my new costume-

RANK. Your costume! Why, it's there.

NORA. Oh, that one, yes. But this is another that- I have ordered

it- Torvald mustn't know-

RANK. Aha! So that's the great secret.

NORA. Yes, of course. Please go to him; he's in the inner room. Do

keep him while I-

RANK. Don't be alarmed; he sha'n't escape.

[RANK goes into HELMER's room.

NORA. [To ELLEN.] Is he waiting in the kitchen?

ELLEN. Yes, he came up the back stair-

NORA. Didn't you tell him I was engaged?

ELLEN. Yes, but it was no use.

NORA. He won't go away?

ELLEN. No, ma'am, not until he has spoken to you.

NORA. Then let him come in; but quietly. And, Ellen- say nothing

about it; it's a surprise for my husband.

ELLEN. Oh, yes, ma'am, I understand.

[She goes out.

NORA. It is coming! The dreadful thing is coming, after all. No,

no, no, it can never be; it shall not!

[She goes to HELMER'S door and slips the bolt. ELLEN

opens the hall door for KROGSTAD, and shuts it after

him. He wears a travelling-coat, high boots, and a fur

cap.

NORA. [Goes towards him.] Speak softly; my husband is at home.

KROGSTAD. All right. That's nothing to me.

NORA. What do you want?

KROGSTAD. A little information.

NORA. Be quick, then. What is it?

KROGSTAD. You know I have got my dismissal.

NORA. I couldn't prevent it, Mr. Krogstad. I fought for you to the

last, but it was of no use.

KROGSTAD. Does your husband care for you so little? He knows what I

can bring upon you, and yet he dares-

NORA. How could you think I should tell him?

KROGSTAD. Well, as a matter of fact, I didn't think it. It wasn't

like my friend Torvald Helmer to show so much courage-

NORA. Mr. Krogstad, be good enough to speak respectfully of my

husband.

KROGSTAD. Certainly, with all due respect. But since you are so

anxious to keep the matter secret, I suppose you are a little

clearer than yesterday as to what you have done.

NORA. Clearer than you could ever make me.

KROGSTAD. Yes, such a bad lawyer as I-

NORA. What is it you want?

KROGSTAD. Only to see how you are getting on, Mrs. Helmer. I've

been thinking about you all day. Even a mere money-lender, a

gutter-journalist, a- in short, a creature like me- has a little

-28-

bit of what people call feeling.

NORA. Then show it; think of my little children.

KROGSTAD. Did you and your husband think of mine? But enough of

that. I only wanted to tell you that you needn't take this matter

too seriously. I shall not lodge any information, for the

present.

NORA. No, surely not. I knew you wouldn't.

KROGSTAD. The whole thing can be settled quite amicably. Nobody

need know. It can remain among us three.

NORA. My husband must never know.

KROGSTAD. How can you prevent it? Can you pay off the balance?

NORA. No, not at once.

KROGSTAD. Or have you any means of raising the money in the next

few days?

NORA. None- that I will make use of.

KROGSTAD. And if you had, it would not help you now. If you offered

me ever so much money down, you should not get back your I.O.U.

NORA. Tell me what you want to do with it.

KROGSTAD. I only want to keep it- to have it in my possession. No

outsider shall hear anything of it. So, if you have any desperate

scheme in your head-

NORA. What if I have?

KROGSTAD. If you should think of leaving your husband and children-

NORA. What if I do?

KROGSTAD. Or if you should think of- something worse-

NORA. How do you know that?

KROGSTAD. Put all that out of your head.

NORA. How did you know what I had in my mind?

KROGSTAD. Most of us think of that at first. I thought of it, too;

but I hadn't the courage-

NORA. [Tonelessly.] Nor I.

KROGSTAD. [Relieved.] No, one hasn't. You haven't the courage

either, have you?

NORA. I haven't, I haven't.

KROGSTAD. Besides, it would be very foolish.- Just one domestic

storm, and it's all over. I have a letter in my pocket for your

husband-

NORA. Telling him everything?

KROGSTAD. Sparing you as much as possible.

NORA. [Quickly.] He must never read that letter. Tear it up. I will

manage to get the money somehow-

KROGSTAD. Pardon me, Mrs. Helmer, but I believe I told you-

NORA. Oh, I'm not talking about the money I owe you. Tell me how

much you demand from my husband- I will get it.

KROGSTAD. I demand no money from your husband.

NORA. What do you demand then?

KROGSTAD. I will tell you. I want to regain my footing in the

world. I want to rise; and your husband shall help me to do it.

For the last eighteen months my record has been spotless; I have

been in bitter need all the time; but I was content to fight my

way up, step by step. Now, I've been thrust down again, and I

will not be satisfied with merely being reinstated as a matter of

grace. I want to rise, I tell you. I must get into the Bank

again, in a higher position than before. Your husband shall

create a place on purpose for me-.

NORA. He will never do that!

KROGSTAD. He will do it; I know him- he won't dare to show fight!

And when he and I are together there, you shall soon see! Before

a year is out I shall be the manager's right hand. It won't be

Torvald Helmer, but Nils Krogstad, that manages the Joint Stock

Bank.

-29-

NORA. That shall never be.

KROGSTAD. Perhaps you will-?

NORA. Now I have the courage for it.

KROGSTAD. Oh, you don't frighten me! A sensitive, petted creature

like you-

NORA. You shall see, you shall see!

KROGSTAD. Under the ice, perhaps? Down into the cold, black water?

And next spring to come up again, ugly, hairless, unrecognisable-

NORA. You can't terrify me.

KROGSTAD. Nor you me. People don't do that sort of thing, Mrs.

Helmer. And, after all, what would be the use of it? I have your

husband in my pocket, all the same.

NORA. Afterwards? When I am no longer-?

KROGSTAD. You forget, your reputation remains in my hands! [NORA

stands speechless and looks at him.] Well, now you are prepared.

Do nothing foolish. As soon as Helmer has received my letter, I

shall expect to hear from him. And remember that it is your

husband himself who has forced me back again into such paths.

That I will never forgive him. Good-bye, Mrs. Helmer.

[Goes out through the hall. NORA hurries to the door,

opens it a little, and listens.

NORA. He's going. He's not putting the letter into the box. No, no,

it would be impossible! [Opens the door further and further.]

What's that. He's standing still; not going downstairs. Has he

changed his mind? Is he-? [A letter falls into the box.

KROGSTAD's footsteps are heard gradually receding down the stair.

NORA utters a suppressed shriek, and rushes forward towards the

sofa-table; pause.] In the letter-box! [Slips shrinkingly up to

the hall door.] There it lies.- Torvald, Torvald- now we are

lost!

MRS. LINDEN enters from the left with the costume.

MRS. LINDEN. There, I think it's all right now. Shall we just try

it on?

NORA. [Hoarsely and softly.] Christina, come here.

MRS. LINDEN. [Throws down the dress on the sofa.] What's the

matter? You look quite distracted.

NORA. Come here. Do you see that letter? There, see- through the

glass of the letter-box.

MRS. LINDEN. Yes, yes, I see it.

NORA. That letter is from Krogstad-

MRS. LINDEN. Nora- it was Krogstad who lent you the money?

NORA. Yes; and now Torvald will know everything.

MRS. LINDEN. Believe me, Nora, it's the best thing for both of you.

NORA. You don't know all yet. I have forged a name-

MRS. LINDEN. Good heavens!

NORA. Now, listen to me, Christina; you shall bear me witness-

MRS. LINDEN. How "witness"? What am I to-?

NORA. If I should go out of my mind- it might easily happen-

MRS. LINDEN. Nora!

NORA. Or if anything else should happen to me- so that I couldn't

be here-!

MRS. LINDEN. Nora, Nora, you're quite beside yourself!

NORA. In case any one wanted to take it all upon himself- the whole

blame- you understand-

MRS. LINDEN. Yes, yes; but how can you think-?

NORA. You shall bear witness that it's not true, Christina. I'm not

out of my mind at all; I know quite well what I'm saying; and I

tell you nobody else knew anything about it; I did the whole

thing, I myself. Remember that.

-30-

MRS. LINDEN. I shall remember. But I don't understand what you

mean-

NORA. Oh, how should you? It's the miracle coming to pass.

MRS. LINDEN. The miracle?

NORA. Yes, the miracle. But it's so terrible, Christina; it mustn't

happen for all the world.

MRS. LINDEN. I shall go straight to Krogstad and talk to him.

NORA. Don't; he'll do you some harm.

MRS. LINDEN. Once he would have done anything for me.

NORA. He?

MRS. LINDEN. Where does he live?

NORA. Oh, how can I tell-? Yes- [Feels in her pocket.] Here's his

card. But the letter, the letter-!

HELMER. [Knocking outside.] Nora!

NORA. [Shrieks in terror.] Oh, what is it? What do you want?

HELMER. Well, well, don't be frightened. We're not coming in;

you've bolted the door. Are you trying on your dress?

NORA. Yes, yes, I'm trying it on. It suits me so well, Torvald.

MRS. LINDEN. [Who has read the card.] Why, he lives close by here.

NORA. Yes, but it's no use now. We are lost. The letter is there in

the box.

MRS. LINDEN. And your husband has the key?

NORA. Always.

MRS. LINDEN. Krogstad must demand his letter back, unread. He must

find some pretext-

NORA. But this is the very time when Torvald generally-

MRS. LINDEN. Prevent him. Keep him occupied. I shall come back as

quickly as I can.

[She goes out hastily by the hall door.

NORA. [Opens HELMER'S door and peeps in.] Torvald!

HELMER. Well, may one come into one's own room again at last? Come,

Rank, we'll have a look- [In the doorway.] But how's this?

NORA. What, Torvald dear?

HELMER. Rank led me to expect a grand transformation.

RANK. [In the doorway.] So I understood. I suppose I was mistaken.

NORA. No, no one shall see me in my glory till to-morrow evening.

HELMER. Why, Nora dear, you look so tired. Have you been practising

too hard?

NORA. No, I haven't practised at all yet.

HELMER. But you'll have to-

NORA. Oh yes, I must, I must! But, Torvald, I can't get on at all

without your help. I've forgotten everything.

HELMER. Oh, we shall soon freshen it up again.

NORA. Yes, do help me, Torvald. You must promise me- Oh, I'm so

nervous about it. Before so many people- This evening you must

give yourself up entirely to me. You mustn't do a stroke of work;

you mustn't even touch a pen. Do promise, Torvald dear!

HELMER. I promise. All this evening I shall be your slave. Little

helpless thing-! But, by-the-bye, I must just-

[Going to hall door.

NORA. What do you want there?

HELMER. Only to see if there are any letters.

NORA. No, no, don't do that, Torvald.

HELMER. Why not?

NORA. Torvald, I beg you not to. There are none there.

HELMER. Let me just see. [Is going.

[NORA, at the piano, plays the first bars of the

tarantella.

HELMER. [At the door, stops.] Aha!

NORA. I can't dance to-morrow if I don't rehearse with you first.

HELMER. [Going to her.] Are you really so nervous, dear Nora?

-31-

NORA. Yes, dreadfully! Let me rehearse at once. We have time before

dinner. Oh, do sit down and play for me, Torvald dear; direct me

and put me right, as you used to do.

HELMER. With all the pleasure in life, since you wish it.

[Sits at piano.

[NORA snatches the tambourine out of he box, and

hurriedly drapes herself in a long parti-coloured

shawl; then, with a bound, stands in the middle of the

floor.

NORA. Now play for me! Now I'll dance!

[HELMER plays and NORA dances. RANK stands at the piano

behind HELMER and looks on.

HELMER. [Playing.] Slower! Slower!

NORA. Can't do it slower!

HELMER. Not so violently, Nora.

NORA. I must! I must!

HELMER. [Stops.] No, no, Nora- that will never do.

NORA. [Laughs and swings her tambourine.] Didn't I tell you so!

RANK. Let me play for her.

HELMER. [Rising.] Yes, do- then I can direct her better.

[RANK sits down to the piano and plays; NORA dances

more and more wildly. HELMER stands by the stove and

addresses frequent corrections to her; she seems not

to hear. Her hair breaks loose, and falls over her

shoulders. She does not notice it, but goes on

dancing. MRS. LINDEN enters and stands spellbound

in the doorway.

MRS. LINDEN. Ah-!

NORA. [Dancing.] We're having such fun here, Christina!

HELMER. Why, Nora dear, you're dancing as if it were a matter of

life and death.

NORA. So it is.

HELMER. Rank, stop! This is the merest madness. Stop, I say!

[RANK stops playing, and NORA comes to a sudden

standstill.

HELMER. [Going towards her.] I couldn't have believed it. You've

positively forgotten all I taught you.

NORA. [Throws the tambourine away.] You see for yourself.

HELMER. You really do want teaching.

NORA. Yes, you see how much I need it. You must practise with me up

to the last moment. Will you promise me, Torvald?

HELMER. Certainly, certainly.

NORA. Neither to-day nor to-morrow must you think of anything but

me. You mustn't open a single letter- mustn't look at the letter-

box.

HELMER. Ah, you're still afraid of that man-

NORA. Oh yes, yes, I am.

HELMER. Nora, I can see it in your face- there's a letter from him

in the box.

NORA. I don't know, I believe so. But you're not to read anything

now; nothing ugly must come between us until all is over.

RANK. [Softly, to HELMER.] You mustn't contradict her.

HELMER. [Putting his arm around her.] The child shall have her own

way. But to-morrow night, when the dance is over-

NORA. Then you shall be free.

ELLEN appears in the doorway, right.

ELLEN. Dinner is on the table, ma'am.

NORA. We'll have some champagne, Ellen.

ELLEN. Yes, ma'am. [Goes out.

-32-

HELMER. Dear me! Quite a banquet.

NORA. Yes, and we'll keep it up till morning. [Calling out.] And

macaroons, Ellen- plenty- just this once.

HELMER. [Seizing her hand.] Come, come, don't let us have this wild

excitement! Be my own little lark again.

NORA. Oh yes, I will. But now go into the dining-room; and you too,

Doctor Rank. Christina, you must help me to do up my hair.

RANK. [Softly, as they go.] There's nothing in the wind? Nothing- I

mean-?

HELMER. Oh no, nothing of the kind. It's merely this babyish

anxiety I was telling you about.

[They go out to the right.

NORA. Well?

MRS. LINDEN. He's gone out of town.

NORA. I saw it in your face.

MRS. LINDEN. He comes back to-morrow evening. I left a note for

him.

NORA. You shouldn't have done that. Things must take their course.

After all, there's something glorious in waiting for the miracle.

MRS. LINDEN. What is it you're waiting for?

NORA. Oh, you can't understand. Go to them in the dining-room; I

shall come in a moment.

[MRS. LINDEN goes into the dining-room. NORA stands

for a moment as though collecting her thoughts;

then looks at her watch.

NORA. Seven hours till midnight. Then twenty-four hours till the

next midnight. Then the tarantella will be over. Twenty-four and

seven? Thirty-one hours to live.

HELMER appears at the door, right.

HELMER. What has become of my little lark?

NORA. [Runs to him with open arms.] Here she is!

ACT THIRD

The same room. The table, with the chairs around it, in the middle.

A lighted lamp on the table. The door to the hall stands open. Dance

music is heard from the floor above.

MRS. LINDEN sits by the table and absently turns the pages of a

book. She tries to read, but seems unable to fix her attention; she

frequently listens and looks anxiously towards the hall door.

MRS. LINDEN. [Looks at her watch.] Not here yet; and the time is

nearly up. If only he hasn't- [Listens again.] Ah, there he is.

[She goes into the hall and cautiously opens the outer door; soft

footsteps are heard on the stairs; she whispers.] Come in; there

is no one here.

KROGSTAD. [In the doorway.] I found a note from you at my house.

What does it mean?

MRS. LINDEN. I must speak to you.

KROGSTAD. Indeed? And in this house?

MRS. LINDEN. I could not see you at my rooms. They have no separate

entrance. Come in; we are quite alone. The servants are asleep,

and the Helmers are at the ball upstairs.

KROGSTAD. [Coming into the room.] Ah! So the Helmers are dancing

this evening? Really?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes. Why not?

KROGSTAD. Quite right. Why not?

MRS. LINDEN. And now let us talk a little.

-33-

KROGSTAD. Have we two anything to say to each other?

MRS. LINDEN. A great deal.

KROGSTAD. I should not have thought so.

MRS. LINDEN. Because you have never really understood me.

KROGSTAD. What was there to understand? The most natural thing in

the world- a heartless woman throws a man over when a better

match offers.

MRS. LINDEN. Do you really think me so heartless? Do you think I

broke with you lightly?

KROGSTAD. Did you not?

MRS. LINDEN. Do you really think so?

KROGSTAD. If not, why did you write me that letter?

MRS. LINDEN. Was it not best? Since I had to break with you, was it

not right that I should try to put an end to all that you felt

for me?

KROGSTAD. [Clenching his hands together.] So that was it? And all

this- for the sake of money!

MRS. LINDEN. You ought not to forget that I had a helpless mother

and two little brothers. We could not wait for you, Nils, as your

prospects then stood.

KROGSTAD. Perhaps not; but you had no right to cast me off for the

sake of others, whoever the others might be.

MRS. LINDEN. I don't know. I have often asked myself whether I had

the right.

KROGSTAD. [More softly.] When I had lost you, I seemed to have no

firm ground left under my feet. Look at me now. I am a

shipwrecked man clinging to a spar.

MRS. LINDEN. Rescue may be at hand.

KROGSTAD. It was at hand; but then you came and stood in the way.

MRS. LINDEN. Without my knowledge, Nils. I did not know till today

that it was you I was to replace in the Bank.

KROGSTAD. Well, I take your word for it. But now that you do know,

do you mean to give way?

MRS. LINDEN. No, for that would not help you in the least.

KROGSTAD. Oh, help, help-! I should do it whether or no.

MRS. LINDEN. I have learnt prudence. Life and bitter necessity have

schooled me.

KROGSTAD. And life has taught me not to trust fine speeches.

MRS. LINDEN. Then life has taught you a very sensible thing. But

deeds you will trust?

KROGSTAD. What do you mean?

MRS. LINDEN. You said you were a shipwrecked man, clinging to a

spar.

KROGSTAD. I have good reason to say so.

MRS. LINDEN. I too am shipwrecked, and clinging to a spar. I have

no one to mourn for, no one to care for.

KROGSTAD. You made your own choice.

MRS. LINDEN. No choice was left me.

KROGSTAD. Well, what then?

MRS. LINDEN. Nils, how if we two shipwrecked people could join

hands?

KROGSTAD. What!

MRS. LINDEN. Two on a raft have a better chance than if each clings

to a separate spar.

KROGSTAD. Christina!

MRS. LINDEN. What do you think brought me to town?

KROGSTAD. Had you any thought of me?

MRS. LINDEN. I must have work or I can't bear to live. All my life,

as long as I can remember, I have worked; work has been my one

great joy. Now I stand quite alone in the world, aimless and

forlorn. There is no happiness in working for one's self. Nils,

-34-

give me somebody and something to work for.

KROGSTAD. I cannot believe in all this. It is simply a woman's

romantic craving for self-sacrifice.

MRS. LINDEN. Have you ever found me romantic?

KROGSTAD. Would you really-? Tell me: do you know all my past?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes.

KROGSTAD. And do you know what people say of me?

MRS. LINDEN. Did you not say just now that with me you could have

been another man?

KROGSTAD. I am sure of it.

MRS. LINDEN. Is it too late?

KROGSTAD. Christina, do you know what you are doing? Yes, you do; I

see it in your face. Have you the courage then-?

MRS. LINDEN. I need some one to be a mother to, and your children

need a mother. You need me, and I- I need you. Nils, I believe in

your better self. With you I fear nothing.

KROGSTAD. [Seizing her hands.] Thank you- thank you, Christina. Now

I shall make others see me as you do.- Ah, I forgot-

MRS. LINDEN. [Listening.] Hush! The tarantella! Go! go!

KROGSTAD. Why? What is it?

MRS. LINDEN. Don't you hear the dancing overhead? As soon as that

is over they will be here.

KROGSTAD. Oh yes, I shall go. Nothing will come of this, after all.

Of course, you don't know the step I have taken against the

Helmers.

MRS. LINDEN. Yes, Nils, I do know.

KROGSTAD. And yet you have the courage to-?

MRS. LINDEN. I know to what lengths despair can drive a man.

KROGSTAD. Oh, if I could only undo it!

MRS. LINDEN. You could. Your letter is still in the box.

KROGSTAD. Are you sure?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes; but-

KROGSTAD. [Looking to her searchingly.] Is that what it all means?

You want to save your friend at any price. Say it out- is that

your idea?

MRS. LINDEN. Nils, a woman who has once sold herself for the sake

of others, does not do so again.

KROGSTAD. I shall demand my letter back again.

MRS. LINDEN. No, no.

KROGSTAD. Yes, of course. I shall wait till Helmer comes; I shall

tell him to give it back to me- that it's only about my

dismissal- that I don't want it read-

MRS. LINDEN. No, Nils, you must not recall the letter.

KROGSTAD. But tell me, wasn't that just why you got me to come

here?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes, in my first alarm. But a day has passed since

then, and in that day I have seen incredible things in this

house. Helmer must know everything; there must be an end to this

unhappy secret. These two must come to a full understanding. They

must have done with all these shifts and subterfuges.

KROGSTAD. Very well, if you like to risk it. But one thing I can

do, and at once-

MRS. LINDEN. [Listening.] Make haste! Go, go! The dance is over;

we're not safe another moment.

KROGSTAD. I shall wait for you in the street.

MRS. LINDEN. Yes, do; you must see me home.

KROGSTAD. I never was so happy in all my life!

[KROGSTAD goes out by the outer door. The door between

the room and the hall remains open.

MRS. LINDEN. [Arranging the room and getting her outdoor things

together.] What a change! What a change! To have some one to work

-35-

for, to live for; a home to make happy! Well, it shall not be my

fault if I fail.- I wish they would come.- [Listens.] Ah, here

they are! I must get my things on.

[Takes bonnet and cloak. HELMER'S and NORA'S voices are

heard outside, a key is turned in the lock, and HELMER

drags NORA almost by force into the hall. She wears

the Italian costume with a large black shawl over it.

He is in evening dress and wears a black domino, open.

NORA. [Struggling with him in the doorway.] No, no, no! I won't go

in! I want to go upstairs again; I don't want to leave so early!

HELMER. But, my dearest girl-!

NORA. Oh, please, please, Torvald, I beseech you- only one hour

more!

HELMER. Not one minute more, Nora dear; you know what we agreed.

Come, come in; you're catching cold here.

[He leads her gently into the room in spite of her

resistance.

MRS. LINDEN. Good-evening.

NORA. Christina!

HELMER. What, Mrs. Linden! You here so late?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes, I ought to apologise. I did so want to see Nora

in her costume.

NORA. Have you been sitting here waiting for me?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes; unfortunately I came too late. You had gone

upstairs already, and I felt I couldn't go away without seeing

you.

HELMER. [Taking Nora's shawl off.] Well then, just look at her! I

assure you she's worth it. isn't she lovely, Mrs. Linden?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes, I must say-

HELMER. Isn't she exquisite? Every one said so. But she's

dreadfully obstinate, dear little creature. What's to be done

with her? Just think, I had almost to force her away.

NORA. Oh, Torvald, you'll be sorry some day that you didn't let me

stay, if only for one half-hour more.

HELMER. There! You hear her, Mrs. Linden? She dances her tarantella

with wild applause, and well she deserved it, I must say- though

there was, perhaps, a little too much nature in her rendering of

the idea- more than was, strictly speaking, artistic. But never

mind- the point is, she made a great success, a tremendous

success. Was I to let her remain after that- to weaken the

impression? Not if I know it. I took my sweet little Capri girl-

my capricious little Capri girl, I might say- under my arm; a

rapid turn round the room, a curtsey to all sides, and- as they

say in novels- the lovely apparition vanished! An exit should

always be effective, Mrs. Linden; but I can't get Nora to see it.

By Jove! it's warm here. [Throws his domino on a chair and opens

the door to his room.] What! No light there? Oh, of course.

Excuse me-

[Goes in and lights candle.

NORA. [Whispers breathlessly.] Well?

MRS. LINDEN. [Softly.] I've spoken to him.

NORA. And-?

MRS. LINDEN. Nora- you must tell your husband everything-

NORA. [Tonelessly.] I knew it!

MRS. LINDEN. You have nothing to fear from Krogstad; but you must

speak out.

NORA. I shall not speak!

MRS. LINDEN. Then the letter will.

NORA. Thank you, Christina. Now I know what I have to do. Hush-!

HELMER. [Coming back.] Well, Mrs. Linden, have you admired her?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes; and now I must say good-night.

-36-

HELMER. What, already? Does this knitting belong to you?

MRS. LINDEN. [Takes it.] Yes, thanks; I was nearly forgetting it.

HELMER. Then you do knit?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes.

HELMER. Do you know, you ought to embroider instead?

MRS. LINDEN. Indeed! Why?

HELMER. Because it's so much prettier. Look now! You hold the

embroidery in the left hand, so, and then work the needle with

the right hand, in a long, graceful curve- don't you?

MRS. LINDEN. Yes, I suppose so.

HELMER. But knitting is always ugly. Just look- your arms close to

your sides, and the needles going up and down- there's something

Chinese about it.- They really gave us splendid champagne

to-night.

MRS. LINDEN. Well, good-night, Nora, and don't be obstinate any

more.

HELMER. Well said, Mrs. Linden!

MRS. LINDEN. Good-night, Mr. Helmer.

HELMER. [Accompanying her to the door.] Good-night, good-night; I

hope you'll get safely home. I should be glad to- but you have

such a short way to go. Good-night, good-night. [She goes; HELMER

shuts the door after her and comes forward again.] At last we've

got rid of her: she's a terrible bore.

NORA. Aren't you very tired, Torvald?

HELMER. No, not in the least.

NORA. Nor sleepy?

HELMER. Not a bit. I feel particularly lively. But you? You do look

tired and sleepy.

NORA. Yes, very tired. I shall soon sleep now.

HELMER. There, you see. I was right after all not to let you stay

longer.

NORA. Oh, everything you do is right.

HELMER. [Kissing her forehead.] Now my lark is speaking like a

reasonable being. Did you notice how jolly Rank was this evening?

NORA. Indeed? Was he? I had no chance of speaking to him.

HELMER. Nor I, much; but, I haven't seen him in such good spirits

for a long time. [Looks at NORA a little, then comes nearer her.]

It's splendid to be back in our own home, to be quite alone

together!- Oh, you enchanting creature!

NORA. Don't look at me in that way, Torvald.

HELMER. I am not to look at my dearest treasure?- at all the

loveliness that is mine, mine only, wholly and entirely mine?

NORA. [Goes to the other side of the table.] You mustn't say these

things to me this evening.

HELMER. [Following.] I see you have the tarantella still in your

blood- and that makes you all the more enticing. Listen! the

other people are going now. [More softly.] Nora- soon the whole

house will be still.

NORA. Yes, I hope so.

HELMER. Yes, don't you, Nora darling? When we are among strangers,

do you know why I speak so little to you, and keep so far away,

and only steal a glance at you now and then- do you know why I do

it? Because I am fancying that we love each other in secret, that

I am secretly betrothed to you, and that no one dreams that there

is anything between us.

NORA. Yes, yes, yes. I know all your thoughts are with me.

HELMER. And then, when the time comes to go, and I put the shawl

about your smooth, soft shoulders, and this glorious neck of

yours, I imagine you are my bride, that our marriage is just

over, that I am bringing you for the first time to my home- that

I am alone with you for the first time- quite alone with you, in

-37-

your trembling loveliness! All this evening I have been longing

for you, and you only. When I watched you swaying and whirling in

the tarantella- my blood boiled- I could endure it no longer; and

that's why I made you come home with me so early-

NORA. Go now, Torvald! Go away from me. I won't have all this.

HELMER. What do you mean? Ah, I see you're teasing me, little Nora!

Won't- won't! Am I not your husband-?

[A knock at the outer door.

NORA. [Starts.] Did you hear-?

HELMER. [Going towards the hall.] Who's there?

RANK. [Outside.] It is I; may I come in for a moment?

HELMER. [In a low tone, annoyed.] Oh, what can he want just now?

[Aloud.] Wait a moment. [Opens door.] Come, it's nice of you to

look in.

RANK. I thought I heard your voice, and that put it into my head.

[Looks round.] Ah, this dear old place! How cosy you two are

here!

HELMER. You seemed to find it pleasant enough upstairs, too.

RANK. Exceedingly. Why not? Why shouldn't one take one's share of

everything in this world? All one can, at least, and as long as

one can. The wine was splendid-

HELMER. Especially the champagne.

RANK. Did you notice it? It's incredible the quantity I contrived

to get down.

NORA. Torvald drank plenty of champagne, too.

RANK. Did he?

NORA. Yes, and it always puts him in such spirits.

RANK. Well, why shouldn't one have a jolly evening after a

well-spent day?

HELMER. Well-spent! Well, I haven't much to boast of in that

respect.

RANK. [Slapping him on the shoulder.] But I have, don't you see?

NORA. I suppose you have been engaged in a scientific

investigation, Doctor Rank?

RANK. Quite right.

HELMER. Bless me! Little Nora talking about scientific

investigations!

NORA. Am I to congratulate you on the result?

RANK. By all means.

NORA. It was good then?

RANK. The best possible, both for doctor and patient- certainty.

NORA. [Quickly and searchingly.] Certainty?

RANK. Absolute certainty. Wasn't I right to enjoy myself after

that?

NORA. Yes, quite right, Doctor Rank.

HELMER. And so say I, provided you don't have to pay for it

to-morrow.

RANK. Well, in this life nothing is to be had for nothing.

NORA. Doctor Rank- I'm sure you are very fond of masquerades?

RANK. Yes, when there are plenty of amusing disguises-

NORA. Tell me, what shall we two be at our next masquerade?

HELMER. Little featherbrain! Thinking of your next already!

RANK. We two? I'll tell you. You must go as a good fairy.

HELMER. Ah, but what costume would indicate that?

RANK. She has simply to wear her everyday dress.

HELMER. Capital! But don't you know what you will be yourself?

RANK. Yes, my dear friend, I am perfectly clear upon that point.

HELMER. Well?

RANK. At the next masquerade I shall be invisible.

HELMER. What a comical idea!

RANK. There's a big black hat- haven't you heard of the invisible

-38-

hat? It comes down all over you, and then no one can see you.

HELMER. [With a supressed smile.] No, you're right there.

RANK. But I'm quite forgetting what I came for. Helmer, give me a

cigar- one of the dark Havanas.

HELMER. With the greatest pleasure.

[Hands cigar-case.

RANK. [Takes one and cuts the end off.] Thank you.

NORA. [Striking a wax match.] Let me give you a light.

RANK. A thousand thanks.

[She holds the match. He lights his cigar at it.

RANK. And now, good-bye!

HELMER. Good-bye, good-bye, my dear fellow.

NORA. Sleep well, Doctor Rank.

RANK. Thanks for the wish.

NORA. Wish me the same.

RANK. You? Very well, since you ask me- Sleep well. And thanks for

the light.

[He nods to them both and goes out.

HELMER. [In an undertone.] He's been drinking a good deal.

NORA. [Absently.] I daresay. [HELMER takes his bunch of keys from

his pocket and goes into the hall.] Torvald, what are you doing

there?

HELMER. I must empty the letter-box; it's quite full; there will be

no room for the newspapers to-morrow morning.

NORA. Are you going to work to-night?

HELMER. You know very well I am not.- Why, how is this? Some one

has been at the lock.

NORA. The lock-?

HELMER. I'm sure of it. What does it mean? I can't think that the

servants-? Here's a broken hair-pin. Nora, it's one of yours.

NORA. [Quickly.] It must have been the children-

HELMER. Then you must break them of such tricks.- There! At last

I've got it open. [Takes contents out and calls into the

kitchen.] Ellen!- Ellen, just put the hall door lamp out.

[He returns with letters in his hand, and shuts the

inner door.

HELMER. Just see how they've accumulated. [Turning them over.] Why,

what's this?

NORA. [At the window.] The letter! Oh no, no, Torvald!

HELMER. Two visiting-cards- from Rank.

NORA. From Doctor Rank?

HELMER. [Looking at them.] Doctor Rank. They were on the top. He

must just have put them in.

NORA. Is there anything on them?

HELMER. There's a black cross over the name. Look at it. What an

unpleasant idea! It looks just as if he were announcing his own

death.

NORA. So he is.

HELMER. What! Do you know anything? Has he told you anything?

NORA. Yes. These cards mean that he has taken his last leave of us.

He is going to shut himself up and die.

HELMER. Poor fellow! Of course I knew we couldn't hope to keep him

long. But so soon-! And to go and creep into his lair like a

wounded animal-

NORA. When we must go, it is best to go silently. Don't you think

so, Torvald?

HELMER. [Walking up and down.] He had so grown into our lives,

I can't realise that he is gone. He and his sufferings and his

loneliness formed a sort of cloudy background to the sunshine of

our happiness.- Well, perhaps it's best as it is- at any rate for

him. [Stands still.] And perhaps for us too, Nora. Now we two are

-39-

thrown entirely upon each other. [Takes her in his arms.] My

darling wife! I feel as if I could never hold you close enough.

Do you know, Nora, I often wish some danger might threaten you,

that I might risk body and soul, and everything, everything, for

your dear sake.

NORA. [Tears herself from him and says firmly.] Now you shall read

your letters, Torvald.

HELMER. No, no; not to-night. I want to be with you, my sweet wife.

NORA. With the thought of your dying friend-?

HELMER. You are right. This has shaken us both. Unloveliness has

come between us- thoughts of death and decay. We must seek to

cast them off. Till then- we will remain apart.

NORA. [Her arms round his neck.] Torvald! Good-night! good-night!

HELMER. [Kissing her forehead.] Good-night, my little song-bird.

Sleep well, Nora. Now I shall go and read my letters.

[He goes with the letters in his hand into his room

and shuts the door.

NORA. [With wild eyes, gropes about her, seizes HELMER'S domino,

throws it round her, and whispers quickly, hoarsely,

and brokenly.] Never to see him again. Never, never, never.

[Throws her shawl over her head.] Never to see the children

again. Never, never.- Oh that black, icy water! Oh that

bottomless-! If it were only over! Now he has it; he's reading

it. Oh, no, no, no, not yet. Torvald, good-bye-! Good-bye, my

little ones-!

[She is rushing out by the hall; at the same moment

HELMER flings his door open, and stands there with

an open letter in his hand.

HELMER. Nora!

NORA. [Shrieks.] Ah-!

HELMER. What is this? Do you know what is in this letter?

NORA. Yes, I know. Let me go! Let me pass!

HELMER. [Holds her back.] Where do you want to go?

NORA. [Tries to break away from him.] You shall not save me,

Torvald.

HELMER. [Falling back.] True! Is what he writes true? No, no, it is

impossible that this can be true.

NORA. It is true. I have loved you beyond all else in the world.

HELMER. Pshaw- no silly evasions!

NORA. [A step nearer him.] Torvald-!

HELMER. Wretched woman- what have you done!

NORA. Let me go- you shall not save me! You shall not take my guilt

upon yourself!

HELMER. I don't want any melodramatic airs. [Locks the outer door.]

Here you shall stay and give an account of yourself. Do you

understand what you have done? Answer! Do you understand it?

NORA. [Looks at him fixedly, and says with a stiffening

expression.] Yes; now I begin fully to understand it.

HELMER. [Walking up and down.] Oh! what an awful awakening! During

all these eight years- she who was my pride and my joy- a

hypocrite, a liar- worse, worse- a criminal. Oh, the unfathomable

hideousness of it all! Ugh! Ugh!

[NORA says nothing, and continues to look fixedly at

him.

HELMER. I ought to have known how it would be. I ought to have

foreseen it. All your father's want of principle- be silent!- all

your father's want of principle you have inherited- no religion,

no morality, no sense of duty. How I am punished for screening

him! I did it for your sake; and you reward me like this.

NORA. Yes- like this.

HELMER. You have destroyed my whole happiness. You have ruined my

-40-

future. Oh, it's frightful to think of! I am in the power of a

scoundrel; he can do whatever he pleases with me, demand whatever

he chooses; he can domineer over me as much as he likes, and I

must submit. And all this disaster and ruin is brought upon me by

an unprincipled woman!

NORA. When I am out of the world, you will be free.

HELMER. Oh, no fine phrases. Your father, too, was always ready

with them. What good would it do me, if you were "out of the

world," as you say? No good whatever! He can publish the story

all the same; I might even be suspected of collusion. People will

think I was at the bottom of it all and egged you on. And for all

this I have you to thank- you whom I have done nothing but pet

and spoil during our whole married life. Do you understand now

what you have done to me?

NORA. [With cold calmness.] Yes.

HELMER. The thing is so incredible, I can't grasp it. But we must

come to an understanding. Take that shawl off. Take it off, I

say! I must try to pacify him in one way or another- the matter

must be hushed up, cost what it may.- As for you and me, we must

make no outward change in our way of life- no outward change, you

understand. Of course, you will continue to live here. But the

children cannot be left in your care. I dare not trust them to

you.- Oh, to have to say this to one I have loved so tenderly-

whom I still-! But that must be a thing of the past. Henceforward

there can be no question of happiness, but merely of saving the

ruins, the shreds, the show- [A ring; HELMER starts.] What's

that? So late! Can it be the worst? Can he-? Hide yourself, Nora;

say you are ill.

[NORA stands motionless. HELMER goes to the door and

opens it.

ELLEN. [Half dressed, in the hall.] Here is a letter for you,

ma'am.

HELMER. Give it to me. [Seizes the letter and shuts the door.] Yes,

from him. You shall not have it. I shall read it.

NORA. Read it?

HELMER. [By the lamp.] I have hardly the courage to. We may both be

lost, both you and I. Ah! I must know. [Hastily tears the letter

open; reads a few lines, looks at an enclosure; with a cry of

joy.] Nora!

[Nora looks inquiringly at him.

HELMER. Nora!- Oh! I must read it again.- Yes, yes, it is so. I am

saved! Nora, I am saved!

NORA. And I?

HELMER. You too, of course; we are both saved, both of us. Look

here- he sends you back your promissory note. He writes that he

regrets and apologises, that a happy turn in his life- Oh, what

matter what he writes. We are saved, Nora! No one can harm you.

Oh, Nora, Nora-; but first to get rid of this hateful thing. I'll

just see- [Glances at the I.O.U.] No, I will not look at it; the

whole thing shall be nothing but a dream to me. [Tears the I.O.U.

and both letters in pieces. Throws them into the fire and watches

them burn.] There! it's gone!- He said that ever since Christmas

Eve- Oh, Nora, they must have been three terrible days for you!

NORA. I have fought a hard fight for the last three days.

HELMER. And in your agony you saw no other outlet but- No; we won't

think of that horror. We will only rejoice and repeat- it's over,

all over! Don't you hear, Nora? You don't seem able to grasp it.

Yes, it's over. What is this set look on your face? Oh, my poor

Nora, I understand; you cannot believe that I have forgiven you.

But I have, Nora; I swear it. I have forgiven everything. I know

that what you did was all for love of me.

-41-

NORA. That is true.

HELMER. You loved me as a wife should love her husband. It was only

the means that, in your inexperience, you misjudged. But do you

think I love you the less because you cannot do without guidance?

No, no. Only lean on me; I will counsel you, and guide you. I

should be no true man if this very womanly helplessness did not

make you doubly dear in my eyes. You mustn't dwell upon the hard

things I said in my first moment of terror, when the world seemed

to be tumbling about my ears. I have forgiven you, Nora- I swear

I have forgiven you.

NORA. I thank you for your forgiveness.

[Goes out, to the right.

HELMER. No, stay-! [Looking through the doorway.] What are you

going to do?

NORA. [Inside.] To take off my masquerade dress.

HELMER. [In the doorway.] Yes, do, dear. Try to calm down, and

recover your balance, my scared little song-bird. You may rest

secure. I have broad wings to shield you. [Walking up and down

near the door.] Oh, how lovely- how cosy our home is, Nora! Here

you are safe; here I can shelter you like a hunted dove whom I

have saved from the claws of the hawk. I shall soon bring your

poor beating heart to rest; believe me, Nora, very soon.

To-morrow all this will seem quite different- everything will

be as before. I shall not need to tell you again that I forgive

you; you will feel for yourself that it is true. How could you

think I could find it in my heart to drive you away, or even so

much as to reproach you? Oh, you don't know a true man's heart,

Nora. There is something indescribably sweet and soothing to a

man in having forgiven his wife- honestly forgiven her, from the

bottom of his heart. She becomes his property in a double sense.

She is as though born again; she has become, so to speak, at once

his wife and his child. That is what you shall henceforth be to

me, my bewildered, helpless darling. Don't be troubled about

anything, Nora; only open your heart to me, and I will be both

will and conscience to you. [NORA enters in everyday dress.] Why,

what's this? Not gone to bed You have changed your dress?

NORA. Yes, Torvald; now I have changed my dress.

HELMER. But why now, so late-?

NORA. I shall not sleep to-night.

HELMER. But, Nora dear-

NORA. [Looking at her watch.] It's not so late yet. Sit down,

Torvald; you and I have much to say to each other.

[She sits at one side of the table.

HELMER. Nora- what does this mean? Your cold, set face-

NORA. Sit down. It will take some time. I have much to talk over

with you.

[HELMER sits at the other side of the table.

HELMER. You alarm me, Nora. I don't understand you.

NORA. No, that is just it. You don't understand me; and I have

never understood you- till to-night. No, don't interrupt. Only

listen to what I say.- We must come to a final settlement,

Torvald.

HELMER. How do you mean?

NORA. [After a short silence.] Does not one thing strike you as we

sit here?

HELMER. What should strike me?

NORA. We have been married eight years. Does it not strike you that

this is the first time we two, you and I, man and wife, have

talked together seriously?

HELMER. Seriously! What do you call seriously?

NORA. During eight whole years, and more- ever since the day we

-42-

first met- we have never exchanged one serious word about serious

things.

HELMER. Was I always to trouble you with the cares you could not

help me to bear?

NORA. I am not talking of cares. I say that we have never yet set

ourselves seriously to get to the bottom of anything.

HELMER. Why, my dearest Nora, what have you to do with serious

things?

NORA. There we have it! You have never understood me.- I have had

great injustice done me, Torvald; first by father, and then by

you.

HELMER. What! By your father and me?- By us, who have loved you

more than all the world?

NORA. [Shaking her head.] You have never loved me. You only thought

it amusing to be in love with me.

HELMER. Why, Nora, what a thing to say!

NORA. Yes, it is so, Torvald. While I was at home with father, he

used to tell me all his opinions, and I held the same opinions.

If I had others I said nothing about them, because he wouldn't

have liked it. He used to call me his doll-child, and played with

me as I played with my dolls. Then I came to live in your house-

HELMER. What an expression to use about our marriage!

NORA. [Undisturbed.] I mean I passed from father's hands into

yours. You arranged everything according to your taste; and I got

the same tastes as you; or I pretended to- I don't know which-

both ways, perhaps; sometimes one and sometimes the other. When I

look back on it now, I seem to have been living here like a

beggar, from hand to mouth. I lived by performing tricks for you,

Torvald. But you would have it so. You and father have done me a

great wrong. It is your fault that my life has come to nothing.

HELMER. Why, Nora, how unreasonable and ungrateful you are! Have

you not been happy here?

NORA. No, never. I thought I was; but I never was.

HELMER. Not- not happy!

NORA. No; only merry. And you have always been so kind to me. But

our house has been nothing but a play-room. Here I have been your

doll-wife, just as at home I used to be papa's doll-child. And

the children, in their turn, have been my dolls. I thought it fun

when you played with me, just as the children did when I played

with them. That has been our marriage, Torvald.

HELMER. There is some truth in what you say, exaggerated and

overstrained though it be. But henceforth it shall be different.

Play-time is over; now comes the time for education.

NORA. Whose education? Mine, or the children's?

HELMER. Both, my dear Nora.

NORA. Oh, Torvald, you are not the man to teach me to be a fit wife

for you.

HELMER. And you can say that?

NORA. And I- how have I prepared myself to educate the children?

HELMER. Nora!

NORA. Did you not say yourself, a few minutes ago, you dared not

trust them to me?

HELMER. In the excitement of the moment! Why should you dwell upon

that?

NORA. No- you were perfectly right. That problem is beyond me.

There is another to be solved first- I must try to educate

myself. You are not the man to help me in that. I must set about

it alone. And that is why I am leaving you.

HELMER. [Jumping up.] What- do you mean to say-?

NORA. I must stand quite alone if I am ever to know myself and my

surroundings; so I cannot stay with you.

-43-

HELMER. Nora! Nora!

NORA. I am going at once. I daresay Christina will take me in for

to-night-

HELMER. You are mad! I shall not allow it! I forbid it!

NORA. It is of no use your forbidding me anything now. I shall take

with me what belongs to me. From you I will accept nothing,

either now or afterwards.

HELMER. What madness this is!

NORA. To-morrow I shall go home- I mean to what was my home. It

will be easier for me to find some opening there.

HELMER. Oh, in your blind inexperience-

NORA. I must try to gain experience, Torvald.

HELMER. To forsake your home, your husband, and your children! And

you don't consider what the world will say.

NORA. I can pay no heed to that. I only know that I must do it.

HELMER. This is monstrous! Can you forsake your holiest duties in

this way?

NORA. What do you consider my holiest duties?

HELMER. Do I need to tell you that? Your duties to your husband and

your children.

NORA. I have other duties equally sacred.

HELMER. Impossible! What duties do you mean?

NORA. My duties towards myself.

HELMER. Before all else you are a wife and a mother.

NORA. That I no longer believe. I believe that before all else I am

a human being, just as much as you are- or at least that I should

try to become one. I know that most people agree with you,

Torvald, and that they say so in books. But henceforth I can't be

satisfied with what most people say, and what is in books. I must

think things out for myself, and try to get clear about them.

HELMER. Are you not clear about your place in your own home? Have

you not an infallible guide in questions like these? Have you not

religion?

NORA. Oh, Torvald, I don't really know what religion is.

HELMER. What do you mean?

NORA. I know nothing but what Pastor Hansen told me when I was

confirmed. He explained that religion was this and that. When I

get away from all this and stand alone, I will look into that

matter too. I will see whether what he taught me is right, or, at

any rate, whether it is right for me.

HELMER. Oh, this is unheard of! And from so young a woman! But if

religion cannot keep you right, let me appeal to your conscience-

for I suppose you have some moral feeling? Or, answer me: perhaps

you have none?

NORA. Well, Torvald, it's not easy to say. I really don't know- I

am all at sea about these things. I only know that I think quite

differently from you about them. I hear, too, that the laws are

different from what I thought: but I can't believe that they can

be right. It appears that a woman has no right to spare her dying

father, or to save her husband's life! I don't believe that.

HELMER. You talk like a child. You don't understand the society in

which you live.

NORA. No, I do not. But now I shall try to learn. I must make up my

mind which is right- society or I.

HELMER. Nora, you are ill; you are feverish; I almost think you are

out of your senses.

NORA. I have never felt so much clearness and certainty as

to-night.

HELMER. You are clear and certain enough to forsake husband and

children?

NORA. Yes, I am.

-44-

HELMER. Then there is only one explanation possible.

NORA. What is that?

HELMER. You no longer love me.

NORA. No; that is just it.

HELMER. Nora!- Can you say so!

NORA. Oh, I'm so sorry, Torvald; for you've always been so kind to

me. But I can't help it. I do not love you any longer.

HELMER. [Mastering himself with difficulty.] Are you clear and

certain on this point too?

NORA. Yes, quite. That is why I will not stay here any longer.

HELMER. And can you also make clear to me how I have forfeited your

love?

NORA. Yes, I can. It was this evening, when the miracle did not

happen; for then I saw you were not the man I had imagined.

HELMER. Explain yourself more clearly; I don't understand

NORA. I have waited so patiently all these eight years. for of

course I saw clearly enough that miracles don't happen every day.

When this crushing blow threatened me, I said to myself so

confidently, "Now comes the miracle!" When Krogstad's letter lay

in the box, it never for a moment occurred to me that you would

think of submitting to that man's conditions. I was convinced

that you would say to him, "Make it known to all the world"; and

that then-

HELMER. Well? When I had given my own wife's name up to disgrace

and shame-?

NORA. Then I firmly believed that you would come forward, take

everything upon yourself, and say, "I am the guilty one."

HELMER. Nora-!

NORA. You mean I would never have accepted such a sacrifice? No,

certainly not. But what would my assertions have been worth in

opposition to yours?- That was the miracle that I hoped for and

dreaded. And it was to hinder that that I wanted to die.

HELMER. I would gladly work for you day and night, Nora- bear

sorrow and want for your sake. But no man sacrifices his honour,

even for one he loves.

NORA. Millions of women have done so.

HELMER. Oh, you think and talk like a silly child.

NORA. Very likely. But you neither think nor talk like the man I

can share my life with. When your terror was over- not for what

threatened me, but for yourself- when there was nothing more to

fear- then it seemed to you as though nothing had happened. I was

your lark again, your doll, just as before- whom you would take

twice as much care of in future, because she was so weak and

fragile. [Stands up.] Torvald- in that moment it burst upon me

that I had been living here these eight years with a strange man,

and had borne him three children.- Oh, I can't bear to think of

it! I could tear myself to pieces!

HELMER. [Sadly.] I see it, I see it; an abyss has opened between

us.- But, Nora, can it never be filled up?

NORA. As I now am, I am no wife for you.

HELMER. I have strength to become another man.

NORA. Perhaps- when your doll is taken away from you.

HELMER. To part- to part from you! No, Nora, no; I can't grasp the

thought.

NORA. [Going into room on the right.] The more reason for the thing

to happen.

[She comes back with out-door things and a small

travelling-bag, which she places on a chair.

HELMER. Nora, Nora, not now! Wait till to-morrow.

NORA. [Putting on cloak.] I can't spend the night in a strange

man's house.

-45-

HELMER. But can we not live here, as brother and sister-?

NORA. [Fastening her hat.] You know very well that wouldn't last

long. [Puts on the shawl.] Good-bye, Torvald. No. I won't go to

the children. I know they are in better hands than mine. As I now

am, I can be nothing to them.

HELMER. But some time, Nora- some time-?

NORA. How can I tell? I have no idea what will become of me.

HELMER. But you are my wife, now and always!

NORA. Listen, Torvald- when a wife leaves her husband's house, as I

am doing, I have heard that in the eyes of the law he is free

from all duties towards her. At any rate, I release you from all

duties. You must not feel yourself bound, any more than I shall.

There must be perfect freedom on both sides. There, I give you

back your ring. Give me mine.

HELMER. That too?

NORA. That too.

HELMER. Here it is.

NORA. Very well. Now it is all over. I lay the keys here. The

servants know about everything in the house- better than I do.

To-morrow, when I have started, Christina will come to pack up

the things I brought with me from home. I will have them sent

after me.

HELMER. All over! all over! Nora, will you never think of me again?

NORA. Oh, I shall often think of you, and the children, and this

house.

HELMER. May I write to you, Nora?

NORA. No- never. You must not.

HELMER. But I must send you-

NORA. Nothing, nothing.

HELMER. I must help you if you need it.

NORA. No, I say. I take nothing from strangers.

HELMER. Nora- can I never be more than a stranger to you?

NORA. [Taking her travelling-bag.] Oh, Torvald, then the miracle of

miracles would have to happen-

HELMER. What is the miracle of miracles?

NORA. Both of us would have to change so that- Oh, Torvald, I no

longer believe in miracles.

HELMER. But I will believe. Tell me! We must so change that-?

NORA. That communion between us shall be a marriage. Good-bye.

[She goes out by the hall door.

HELMER. [Sinks into a chair by the door with his face in his

hands.] Nora! Nora! [He looks round and rises.] Empty. She is

gone. [A hope springs up in him.] Ah! The miracle of miracles-?!

[From below is heard the reverberation of a heavy door

closing.

THE END

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